I'm scared of water and what might be on the bottom. I swim as a sort of defiance.
One day the waves were high - two and three metres. I was afraid, but went in anyway, emboldened by some kids on body boards. I'll always remember being out in the high waves and roaring muddied waves and feeling safe! something transformed what could have been a drowning panic- I would never have imagined it otherwise- into being carried.
In the roaring muddied waters of the world, I am also afraid. The water is deep; there is horror lurking ready to drag us under. Who is destroyed is arbitrary and unrelated to any deserving. God is unbelievable or a vindictive tyrant in this world. Or else, a distant practically irrelevant "first principle." We are alone. We need to be our own God- and at that we are pathetic.
On some days it is not hard for me to avoid a drowning panic because whether the waves roar or there is dead calm, there is no point at all. No purpose, no hope, no direction. We live and struggle simply so we may become aware that we will die, and what fleeting comfort we find will float away as we sink into oblivion so deep we may as well never have been. Why not give up now instead of gathering more pain?
But as I write this under the pepper trees of a country church yard there is something as nameless and powerful as that distant day at the beach. A buoyancy and bearing up. A certain beauty, a longing that feels it may be fulfilled. Feelings... the ability to feel even pain- which seem somehow worth something in the emptiness.
Is this simply a longing, a twisted naive imagining like my 'safety' out in the waves that drown so many? Or do I know, and have I met, more than I can tell?May 2000
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