Thursday, December 16, 2010


Last week the shopping list tucked into my purse had fresh garlic, lemons, fish, shrimp, crab, oysters, tomatoes, fresh pasta, and parsley listed. What wasn't written on it was rest, sleep, breathe.

I had escaped to the beach.  I needed it to cleanse my spirit and wash away the nightmares, and the horrible, hateful injustices done to a dear friend, and the remnants of war on our young men and women, and to see if I could remember how to inhale once again. 

I stood on the 12th floor balcony of my condo overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.  The surf rolled in like layers of Austrian lace. In the background, over the roar of the waves, I could almost hear the Viennese Waltz. 

The sky was salmon colored with tinges of pink and ruffles. As I closed my eyes, solitude and comfort wrapped its arms around me,  a cool breeze started to peel away layers of distress. For as far as I could see in any direction, there were no people.  The sand was a pale beige, pristine in appearance, as it welcomed each wave with hope and gratitude.

The sun set and then rose again, and in between I breathed and rested and recovered and never wanted to come home again. I walked the jetties, and the bay, and the beach and became overwhelmingly envious of the birds and their routine and their ability to soar above the chaos and the noise.  One pelican satisfied with his morning seemed content to pose for me on a granite rock.  He was at peace.  You see pelicans don't have an agenda.  They aren't out to hurt anyone.  They aren't out to deceive and lie and torment and intentionally mame. 

The gumbo was heaven and the 70 degrees perfection. 

I discovered the beach smells different in the winter.  There are no crowds of children running in and out of the surf, no teenagers proving their prowess, nobody was there but 'Winter Texans' escaping the frigid weather in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Canada. I saluted the silence and the certainty of the gulf waters. The sublime stillness filled my heart with warmth, love, dreams, and  passion carried to me in the wind. 

I quivered as I watched the sun set and the moon rise.  I was haunted by the mystery of it all and overwhelmed by time slipping through my fingers like the sand layed out in front of me for miles and miles. I continue to search for stability and stable ground.  There is no map for this journey called life. But for this time, and in this place, I felt at peace.

The greatest lesson I have learned and a fundamental law of life is to simply be yourself.  In the rhythm of the waves and the wind and the blue sky filled with hungry 'Laughing Gulls,' crying out for a piece of bread, it became abundantly clear that those who are hate filled and angry and money hungry and vengeful are not worth my time.  They are sad, lonely souls who can only find solace by hurting others.  For them I am sorry. They control and manipulate and feel utterly misplaced when surrounded by kindness and giving.  They take no joy or pleasure in life and their hearts must be most haunted, resentful, and bitter.  Their gifts remain locked away, never to emerge. They never come into rhythm with life or others or love. Their shopping list is dark and full of suffering. What is written on your shopping list?


This week before Christmas, I wish for you freedom and peace and moments and pockets of peace.  Pockets where you find what truly is most important in this world and where you can restore yourself in moments of solitude and grace.

"As spring rain softens the earth with surprise,
May your winter places be kissed by light.

As the ocean dreams to the joy of dance,
May the grace of change bring you elegance.

As clay anchors a tree in light and wind,
May your outer life grow from peace within.

As twilight pervades the belief of night,
May beauty sleep lightly within your heart.

~John O'Donohue

No comments:

Post a Comment