Monday, March 15, 2010

This is from an ocean.

“How’s life?” asks a boy, concerned for his friend’s heart which is in my hands.
“Hell,” I say.
“I appreciate your honesty.”

It was a lie. Life is not hell, but it got the point across efficiently. My point: I’m not tryin to mess with your friend ok? He's my friend too and I’m tryin to do the right thing. Please don’t imply that this is a careless matter of batting my eyelashes on Saturday nights.

“If you ever want to fight, you know where to find me...”

"You know most of the girls in your relief society would kill to have this problem," says my trusty Bishop. (We're tight.)
The first time he says this, I just knod.
The second time, I let loose:
"I know. But this didn't just fall into my lap, ok? I worked really hard to show these boys who I am, to give of myself. I did scary things with my heart. this is what happened in return. It's not about fate or luck."

“I think you’re brave,” Ben says.
“Thank you,” I say. I say it like I mean it. Because I do.

I’m up late tonight, all by myself. I used to do this all the time. Here I am with my pot of pasta and fuzzy pajama pants. Here I am. I want to show you something.

There are three parts to this story. I am ready to tell you about one. 

It comes from a page marked November 27th. 
I filled it with a question in really big handwriting: What am I doing with Ben? 
(I want to fill you in on what that question means, but it would make the story cheap, public, and incomplete. Just replace it with your own pressing question and stay with me.)
I scribbled about how this question was the real focus of my mind, not the novel I was reading, not even the ocean I was laying by. “This is the wrong question,” I write.

I get up. I can’t be on this blanket anymore. Too much movement inside. I am goin for a walk, and that’s all there is to it. Brooklyn comes too. I tell her about how my question was off-track. Here’s why: “No answer will fill all the holes with individual statements. No answer will be a logical blueprint for life except this: I am following the spirit. I am. New question for tomorrow: Am I still following the spirit? That’s all I can do. It has to be enough. It is enough.”

I told her it was going to be okay. I spoke deliberately, knowing that in the absence of my own knowledge, the impossibility of my omniscience, I needed to hear myself say these things. ALOUD. Aloud while walkin fast and alive down the beach.

The sand was flat for ages. No hills or patterns were left by the retreating tide. It made my restless heart crazy. We round a peninsula, one with a lifeguard stand. California is so foreign to me sometimes…as if the little guy in the chair can make it all okay. After this we see an edge. I’m not sure what else to call it. It was a tall piece of rock, jutting out into the ocean, like a small cliff. The water crashed all around and it was very alive with sea urchins and star fish and other smaller things I couldn’t name. I drew back from the urchins at first, in unfamiliarity. But then I remembered that these were alive and part of the earth and connected to the water, just like me. I let go and trusted, like I’d done five days before when I brought the truth on a Sunday night. “Lyndsi Shae, why you breathin like you’re scared to?” I touched their tops one at a time, letting each cling to my hand for a while before pulling away. And then, I did what I knew I would. I climbed the rock.

In my bathinsuit and tye-dyed t-shirt, I followed my own bare feet. It was the roughest surface they’d ever felt. Every step hurt. I knew I was here to find a higher place—that I would sit above the waves and feel certain things, but what I could not yet say. I jumped across a few divides. I reached up and up. I stopped once to rest my feet, but knew I had to get higher. I had to see more of the current. This current flowed around the edge of the cliff and sent waves out sideways, parallel with the shoreline. I had to watch them reconcile with the larger waves that headed straight for the sand.

Out in the ocean, the two wave paths collided into a large rock. The same kind of animals clung there as the place from where I watched. Each time the waves came they would crash over that rock, forwards and sideways, and then both waves pushed on towards the base of the rock where I sat. 
The cliff. The edge.

I sat on the harsh rock and curled my toes over the edge. I long to put myself amid things that have not been tamed. Man can never stop these waves. I think I want my life to be this way. As much as I crave  immediate answers, I want to my currents to divulge and my cliff to be shaped slowly—by life that clings to the rockface—adding itself to my edges-- by crashing water that pulses with the moon. With all of these I am eroded or refined, whichever I choose. And while I sit up on this folded rock, sore feet and t-shirt beneath me—I am singing to God. I am singing because He comes closer with the sound, because it is a way to call on many other pieces of myself, past pieces that sang these same songs.

I cannot show you these pieces in words, I can only say that there is a need for times like this. Times to climb the first cliff you see and find a unity between what has been felt, and what is still left to find. Time to prepare for the choices that will come, to crash sideways and forwards and hold tight to tumultuous rock. I have been the wave, the rock, the urchin and the tide. So I sing and reach for Him with all of these.

Be still, my soul: 
thy God doth undertake

To guide the future, 
as He has the past. 

Thy hope, thy confidence 
let nothing shake;

All now mysterious 
shall be bright at last. 

Be still, my soul: 
the waves and winds 
still know…

I watch the crashing water. It surrounds the base of this cliff and I think, “What would I say to God today, here on this rock. If I could tell him one thing… what would I choose”
I feel the answer come fast and calm and I say it aloud:

I want to do what you want me to do.
I want to do what you want me to do.

The application of this will require more than the desire.
The knowledge is more than just listening.
I know, but I am sure this is what I want to say.
I sit on that rock for a while.
The waves are getting higher.
I am right where I am supposed to be.

I watch water smash into the rock out there in the ocean, first from the side, then directly from behind. It’s covered but not overtaken. White foam erupts and dissolves. The rock re-emerges though the waves rage on.

Then I hear a crash beneath the edge where I sit.
In an instant I see the water lurch up from below. 
It has now come for me, 
and as I watch this triangle of ocean spring up, 
one word comes to mind:
It crashes over me then, untame and unexplained. I finish my song.
This is how I leave the cliff, not with a complete knowledge but with a respect for the unknown. A desire for more crashing beauty, more converging currents in my life. I climb down one painful step at a time. I know that my feet have been prepared for the rocks.

As we walk away I try to explain to Brooklyn.
“I feel better now,” I say.

Before, on that blanket with my book, I was too quiet.
I was too falsely focused.

Now I have walked in search of an answer, and instead found peace. There is wild water in my hair, and cliff scratches on my legs. My skin is tired from the sun and I am ready to walk away from that edge. To walk away without knowing the ending.

“I feel like I am here now,” I say.
“All of me.”
And I am.

That was 108 days ago.  3 and a half months.
What can I say?
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change He faithful will remain...

Tonight I am in repair. I rest away from the waves. 
I am calm, but exhausted. I study the sounds and patterns, try to be still.

I want to do what you want me to do.


Joran said...

I really like the style of this piece too. I like the vertical, introspective feel with the subtle presence of plot; enough plot that I felt connected with it. I also really appreciated the imagery.

brooke said...

Oh man. The music stops when you click Post a Comment.
Lyndsi Shae, I was just listenin to the music and reading this and I was feeling chills and so many feelings, and I just want you to know that you inspire me and help me think about things a whole different way and that you are beautiful, your words are beautiful, and that crashing beauty is your life even when it feels like steel and mud and stuff, because you are what you are and what you say is always so true to that. I love that most.

Que Buen Chica! said...

Life can erode you or refine you .... which ever YOU choose.
Keep choosing!
Make your life happen.