A true vacation, one with little to no trace of doctors and appointments and cancer, is the closest I have come. I find being thrust out in foreign surroundings in a new city forces you to let the worries of the world fall away. That is what I have done for the past week, and what tends to be easier for me to do when at the beach. This week has, and will always, reside inside it's own perfect little bubble. Nothing came before and nothing after - at least that is how I have felt. That simplicity of thought has been divine and a much welcome vacation from my usual state of anxiety and dread. I have been out of school for an entire month, but have somehow filled that time with constant movement. Be it cleaning or preparing or working or just stressing. And who can blame me? The past two - three months were chaos. This vacation forced me to sit down, like a child put in the time out corner, and just be.
How often do I write of the concept of "letting go?" In some way or another it comes out in every blog and journal entry I ever write. And I think about it constantly. If I were to ever become famous, scholars would study it as one of the ever present themes of my work. (Haha) "Letting Go"is another one of those abstract, self-help book notions that one must work extremely hard at to comprehend. I can sit in front of my tv and watch Oprah talk about it all day, taking copious notes, and once I think I've finally got it, something devastating (or not so devastating) happens and I immediately want to be back in control. Recently, I watched an amazing interview with a strong, modern day heroine named Jen Hidinger. She's somewhat a celebrity in the Atlanta social circle and is the genius behind the development of Staplehouse and The Giving Kitchen - both in honor of her late husband, Ryan Hidinger, who passed away from gall bladder cancer last year. She said that early on in the diagnosis they both decided to "let go and let be." I want to sit down with her and ask a billion questions, but the main one being: How? How in the world is this accomplished?
As our vacation draws to a close, I can say I once again came close. But that's me, constantly knocking at the "let go" counter but never truly buying in. And that's okay. I went out for a solo sunset beach walk yesterday and found the peace I needed to accept this. Surrounded by families and rowdy fourth of July rednecks (I am, after all, in Panama City), preparing to gear up for the night festivities, I stood alone in the tide. I closed my eyes real tight, let the world and the rednecks drift away, and I cried. About knee deep in the salt water with my feet quickly sinking into sand, I couldn't see which type of wave was about to crash. Was it light and gentle, or hard and dangerous? I had no idea. But, just for a moment, I was okay with not knowing. And then I thought, maybe the answer to my dilemma is quite simple. Maybe, somehow or someway, I should think about letting go of letting go...
“I thought of you and how you love this beauty,
And walking up the long beach all alone
I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder
As you and I once heard their monotone.
Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me
The cold and sparkling silver of the sea --
We two will pass through death and ages lengthen
Before you hear that sound again with me.”
“Because there's nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it's sent away.”
“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”
“There was a magic about the sea. People were drawn to it. People wanted to love by it, swim in it, play in it, look at it.” ― Cecelia Ahern, The Gift
“She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar.”
“She loves the serene brutality of the ocean, loves the electric power she felt with each breath of wet, briny air.” ― Holly Black, Tithe
“Her happiness floated like waves of ocean along the coast of her life. She found lyrics of her life in his arms but she never sung her song.” ― Santosh Salwar
“I'm always happy when I'm surrounded by water, I think I'm a Mermaid or I was a mermaid.
The ocean makes me feel really small and it makes me put my whole life into perspective… it humbles you and makes you feel almost like you’ve been baptized. I feel born again when I get out of the ocean.”
“There's nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater,you realize that you've been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.”
“I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads.
It is my favorite thing, I think, that I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel.”
A big thank you to Jennifer and Waves of Grace for making this special time of peace, healing, and togetherness possible. And thanks to our dear friend, Paige Smallbone, for nominating us for this adventure. We are eternally grateful for your kindness.