The last few weeks have left me feeling unmoored, cast out into an unknown space. Despair has visited me in unexpected ways.
My beloved and I, we were talking last night of the mountains we used to call home and how we miss their beauty and steady strength. It always seemed when I felt troubled that a glance towards the horizon and the smoky ridge of ancient stone would set me right again, remind me of the steadiness of Christ’s love. But at times, I wanted to rage against those stalwart giants for their very surety! My life felt anything but, so much of the time! Medical crisis after medical crisis, lost job, the recession hitting hard on my young, unlearned head. All so topsy-turvy.
And now we live nestled into the sea-side, where river and bay meet the vast Atlantic. The confluence and conversion of fresh to brackish to salt. By the same measures that I looked out at the quiet testimonies of stone, I now look out on water that appears to have no end, endless wave crashing on shore. The vastness of it all is by measures comforting and terrifying. How vast the Father’s love for us, how deep beyond all measure, the song goes. But when you stand at the shore on a stormy day, the very vastness of it all threatens to push you under. You realize how truly little and small your soul is- and you realize how quickly you can be lost.
I’ve found my language wrapping in the song of the sea. I feel unmoored, I say. I feel like I’ve been thrown overboard. I feel cast away. It is an unsettling feeling to find myself and my family in safe harbor for the first time in many, many years, and yet feel so untethered from the person I used to be. I can’t help it, these phrases and words- they are weaving into my soul the way the quiet mountains did in their season. And in learning this new language, I am finding a new way forward.
Maybe I am cast off, out to sea. I’m starting to understand that it is where I am meant to be, that I must lose sight of the shore of what I’ve known and sail out into the next chapter of my life and what is come. It’s not to say it is easy, however.
Tevye says in the beginning of Fiddler on the Roof:
A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But here, in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask ‘Why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous?’ Well, we stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance?
I saw a great blue heron balancing on a chimney pot in our neighborhood the other day and I could not help but think of the line from Fiddler. This amazing, graceful, bird, so very large on land, ungainly, balancing on a chimney, probably looking for a place to nest, because the habitat of youth exists no more for him, and where will he raise his children now? I could understand his questioning.
And so, here I balance, like a great blue heron on a chimney pot. And somehow, God still sees us both.