Why do people stand at the edge of the ocean? I think it’s because that’s as close as we can get to finding the end of the world, a finish line at which to pause. I’ve been to the ocean a few times, on cold days, with sand in my eyes and hair, the constant roaring of waves and tides and winds drowning thoughts and leaving room for pure emotion.
All the poets I can think of have written about the ocean, rivers, lakes, ponds—water is a boon for creative insight and metaphor, as most chapters of nature are.
I’ve been afraid of deep waters as far back as I can remember. When I was younger, almost nauseating anxiety would grip me, even wading up to my waist. The usual uneasiness that comes with large bodies of water—what’s down there, what touched me, etc.—plagued my thoughts, paired with images of sinking into the silt, trapped, decaying among fish carcasses, the rush of water into my lungs, blurry sunlight filtering from far above, unreachable. Pressure like a vice on my chest.
But as this unease has grown with me, I’ve recognized it as something else—the fear of letting go of control. You only have so much power in the water. It will always be stronger than you, no matter how good of a swimmer you are or how much you practice holding your breath.
My relationship with water is a reflection of my relationship with the unknown. One of the only ways I’ve combatted that fearful relationship is by trusting Jesus and leaning into my faith. One of the other ways is writing overly personal blog posts to maybe help someone out there not feel as alone as I have for most of my life.
Every day I successfully choose faith over crumbling into myself with panic and anxiety about the unknown, I step farther into those deep waters.
And maybe sometimes my breath still catches, sometimes I run back to the shore, maybe sometimes I don’t even venture into the waves at all. But those days get fewer and fewer as time marches on.
The next time I look out at the ocean, with sea mist and salt on my skin, I’ll remember that all finish lines have an after, and all endings have beginnings. The specifics can bide and unfold as they will.
Anyway. To summarize, September alone has been full of so much growth and healing, I’m almost certain 2022 will stay one of the most pivotal years of my life for a long time.
This isn’t what I planned on writing about this month, but whaddya do. Head empty—only semi-morbid water metaphors on this fine autumn day, so it seems.
Thank you for reading.
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