“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
“The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself.”
“The right decision isn’t always easy.”
These hard nuts of reason come easily to the tongue and slowly to the spirit. I get swatted by a new life lesson and it’s as if I’m 14 and have never been on a date with self-awareness. “Really,” I think to myself, “How can I have been this blind to something this obvious for so long?”
Like the moments where I suddenly realize that – yes, it’s true – I really have been doing the same pattern in the last three relationships. Where – like a rising Atlantis (or that alien village in “The Abyss”), a leviathan surfaces from the murky depths of my subconscious to the light of day. An old, gnarled monster encrusted with barnacles and strange sea debris that shakes its ratty head at me and smiles as if to say, “Yes, girlie, I was really here all along.” And the real bummer of the story is that once he’s up – once my sea creature has surfaced and grinned and winked – he will not be going back. Nope. He’s up and he’s staying up. Pour him a mai tai, ladies, and call it an afternoon, because the gentleman is just warming up his fingers to tickle those ivories, and you’re in for some wild entertainment.
Staring the monster in the face is not exactly comfortable.
So I (and we, most likely) will choose to get back on the yacht, leave the ocean and her vagaries, and hightail if for a safer – and less interesting – port. And for awhile, we can even scrape out a manageable existence on our tiny beach of refuge. We drop anchor, huddle up on the sand, and swear never to take to the seas again. Which may work until we remember that the really good beaches lie across the ocean, and getting there requires meeting the Gentleman Sea Monster once more.
And frankly, even if we stay cozied on our beach, sooner or later some of his old sea debris starts washing up on shore. A finger here, some hairied kelp there – reminding us that he is waiting for us to resume our conversation.
So at some point, we renew our spirit to be brave. We get in the boat, row out to the open ocean, and find him there, waiting. And we sit in the small boat and play chess on the ocean with our strange leviathan. We look unflinchingly at his weathered, crab-ridden face.
And over time, we find beauty there, and loneliness, and whimsy, and hope.