Monday, March 9, 2015

Last week I stood at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, with my toes in the cold wet sand, a crystal clear sky ablaze over my head, my best friend next to me, and I felt...anxious. Yep, there's me, in my happy place, stressed out. Why oh why, Kimberly, are you anything but grateful, here surrounded by this beauty?

Here it is [This has taken me 31 years to learn about myself]: I was afraid I wasn't taking it all in deeply enough. What if I'm not enjoying this to the fullest extent? I knew my time with such beauty was limited and I just wanted to be big enough to fill all the way up, to remember it all exactly, so I could carry it home with me. There's a Mary Oliver line about this (there's always a Mary Oliver line about this):

Have I lived enough? /  Have I loved enough? / Have I considered Right Action enough, have I / come to any conclusion? / Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude? (The Gardener)

It's been a long, suffocatingly dark winter and I needed the beach. I needed to stand in front of something bigger than myself and feel small. So I searched out a cheap hotel deal, I persuaded Todd into "just one more vacation," I talked the Wakefields into coming along and splitting costs, I bought a plastic bucket and a shovel for Eli, I willed the snow in northern Alabama to give way, I loaded us all in the car for a seven hour trip, I checked us into the hotel, and then I bolted for that shoreline.

It's easy to imagine that I chased this beauty and after all of this effort, I needed to make sure I didn't waste it. And so I felt anxious.

The next morning I woke up early and made for that same spot and I got an image in my head of me, standing there in front of all of that water, with my hands cupped open in front of me, full and running over. Along with this image, a little nudge: I don't have to make myself big enough to contain it all. I just have to cup my hands and accept what I can hold.

Saturday morning, a week later, my toes in my slippers and not in the cold wet sand, I read this:

Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. (Psalm 23, The Message version)

And there it is. I don't have to chase. I don't have to find room inside and fill up before it's gone. I am not chasing beauty and love. I am being chased. Maybe I didn't find that beach or orchestrate that moment of beauty. Maybe it found me.

No comments:

Post a Comment