At the edge of the ocean was life. Ya know, like everyday life, people and animals. It is where we live, what we see when we wake up in the morning, that kind of life. But we all, all of humanity lived right where the waves broke, right at the shore. Millions of people doing their thing, washing dishes, doing the laundry, writing checks and doing other business things that people do all the time. The waves would come and crash over us, our papers would float nearby, our dishes hovered just below the surface and we’d all brace ourselves for the under current. It keeps us from the shore, no one ever goes on dry land. The waves crash at us making us tumble onto stinging sand and scratchy pieces of coral and shell getting us close but never close enough to grab onto anything. Even if we got to the beach, I’m not sure we would know what to do with it. Stand up, Sit down? There was no information about it and we never saw onto the coast much beyond the highest tide. In any case, getting ashore didn’t seem to be anyone’s goal.
And so the entire population tumbled and rolled and came back with scratches and bruises and then talked about how to better their position in order not to get hurt. “Turn sideways” says one, “Head on” says another and they would go on endlessly discussing how to ride the waves. When they came back battered, they somehow felt they had been successful. “At least we there’s always another wave just behind the last one!” was the way they thought.
I rode the surf too, got hurt, listened to the others bond over their injuries and ideas and then had a revelation. “Resist!” I thought, it was like a light bulb. A brilliantly white light bulb! I’ve always been rebellious. I through my shoes beyond the waves so that I didn’t have to get battered. They yelled at me for going too far out. “Come back to the safety of the waves!” they would shout.
I told a few people next to me waiting for the next assault and they brushed me off as if I were deranged, not to mention irrational and irritating. I smoldered and listened to them talk.
They discussed how to make themselves more fluid, perhaps like gelatin. That way they could bounce or change shapes to accommodate the power and weight of the water. How profound, I thought, it made some sense, but then coming to my senses I realized that I had just been made fun of, in fact scoffed at for my idea. That thought encouraged me to go with my plan. Very shortly a new wave would come and this time I would defy it.
The swell was huge, I could feel it coming from a distance away.
“Why are you loafing around?” someone yelled. “Don’t just stand there, brace yourself!”
Was I bracing myself, but this time I was going to be teaching it a lesson not the other way around. I dug into the sand. The pebbles were rough and scratched my legs but I was going to be a pillar, in my defiance, not a bowl of Jello. Nothing would throw me onto the shore ever again, I was determined.
The tide ebbed and tried to drag me further out beyond my minimal toehold. I closed my eyes and visualized a mountain, impenetrable, unmovable and solid, I hardly felt the current at all. Then came the moment of truth. It felt like a Tsunami, no, it felt like a building had fallen right behind me and blew at my back with thousands of tons of steel, brick and a thousand stinging needles.
I decided at that split second of fear that I would present, thrill and excitement instead of dread. As soon as I changed my thinking resisting became easier. I could open my eyes and watch everyone else being tossed like little leaves. My arms and hair flew forward but my body remained planted. Soon it was over and I could see the others brushing off the salt from their arms and coming back out to middle ocean. They looked at me with disgust or was it fear, maybe a mix of both and then to my surprise they avoided me. I had just had the most profound experiences of my life or anyone else’s life for that matter and they avoided me! No one wanted to know how I did it, no one was curious.
Still in my planted position, I could hear them talking. They went right back to the same old dialogue. “Maybe marshmallow is the wrong thing, maybe we have to act like marmalade. Let’s try that next time!”
I was shocked and now very lonely but I wasn’t scratched or battered by the sea. I owned the waves now and would try to talk to them and perhaps I could venture away from them if I wanted to. Once again I had to change my thinking, I’m the explorer, the strong one and continued, elated instead of disheartened by loneliness.