Friday, May 24, 2013

An Ocean

On my last trip home, I made a special diversion between dates with my people to visit my Lake. For 20 minutes, I just sat and listened and watched. I miss my friends and family, and I'm lucky to have Lake Michigan in Chicago, but I have to say that I really, really miss Lake Superior.

Pretty much the second I got my driver's license, the Lake became a magnet to me, a place that I go when I need to set the world straight, the great equalizer of my soul. I was surprised to realize that it had been nearly 9 months since I sat at the shoreline and lost myself in my thoughts and the waves.

One of the hallmarks of my late twenties has been working on self-acceptance--working to understand which parts of myself I should continue to work on, and which parts are just me. I have come to accept--and come to believe that the people whom I surround myself with should accept--that I am a person who strives to find meaning in things. Sometimes I think that means I actively struggle more than others, what some would deem needless struggle, and I have spent a fair time brainstorming ways to make this go away.

"You think too much." "Don't overanalyze this!" "Why is this such a big deal?" "Don't worry about it!" I've heard this from all angles throughout my entire life. It's taken me 29 years to appreciate this about myself: I have a hard time operating like everything is black and white, because I see each and every shade of gray. It is in my nature to consider each of the shades, and that makes it really hard to tune them out. That's just who I am, and I'll struggle for it, but I'll also remain tuned into the subtleties and the possibilities of the world.

Carl Jung said that lonliness doesn't result from being alone, but from being unable communicate the things that seem important. I feel this sense of lonliness until I don't, until I am finally able to communicate what I have been ruminating about all along. That brand of lonliness feels like an entire ocean (or the largest freshwater lake in the world), and it's really easy to get lost in the ocean. But, as suddenly as its onset, the relief comes--the ability to communicate the feelings comes--like a wave, not there until it is, crashing toward the shore with a sometimes alarming intensity. 

I guess what I want to say is that I'm thankful for Lake Superior, who is always waiting to listen to and swallow up my fears. And I'm thankful, too, for the people who make their very best effort to love me in the same way, the people who accept all of the above when they oftentimes deserve more, many of whom reside in or hail from the little lakeside town I call home.

"Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave
'til it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know."

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