It’s dwindling evening light and the ocean depths speak haunting freedom, celebration and mystery. Gazing over any beach pier or from its limitless sand is riveting. Soft gold and dusty brown produce a striking path to the water’s edge. Looking at city lights, interesting people and an ongoing black sea with diamond reflection gives us time to think. I love returning to this wonder, breathing in the majesty of the shore. I ponder deep sea divers and ship crews: what that experience entails and how it relates to emotional pardon. Reaching down, swimming down into the deepest caverns of our heart to let go of the agony, pain, and damage we hold others (and ourselves) responsible for takes a rush of life. We can’t breathe there, not with our own lungs. Equipment has to help us survive in that level of water. Nature has to keep us alive. An exceptionally beautiful excerpt of work from French poet and novelist Victor Hugo, “The Ocean’s Song,” touches on the danger:
“’Be born! arise! o’er the earth and wild
Peoples and suns!
Let darkness vanish; tocsins be
And flash, ye guns!
And you who love no pomps of fog or
Who fear no shocks,
Brave foam and lightning, hurricane and
Exiles: the rocks!’”
Do you feel the sweep of boldness here? Can you imagine yourself proudly standing on a wave-washed rock, ready to face anything with the ocean as companion? And then the down-to-earth, practical “shocks” and “foam” and “clamour” that keep the adventure grounded? This kind of release is impossible without soul restoration, without the forgiveness of everyone around you whether or not there is restitution. I’ve learned that this doesn’t come in ease. A second-by-second struggle, in some cases is your Sisyphus on ice. Presidents, kings, lovers, and parents all need the opportunity for grace. That grace can survive through friendship or from necessary distance/punishment. Forgiveness is not oppression. I hear you, Hugo. Let’s take a deep, dark swim and return to the surface, clean and hopeful.
The sea illustrates bravery. We dive for spiritual treasure, and risk life to do so by going against the clock and challenging a monstrous force. It’s respected, gorgeous and deadly water.
Mixing bravery with forgiveness births compassion. Compassion delivers us into summer’s warmth, freedom and bright, long days. August is the sand being kissed by fall’s low tide. Whether it’s gearing up for busy classes, workloads or responsibilities at the middle and end of this month, I hope August shores you up with peace and wild, loving service to the world around us.