Monday, December 5, 2011

A Stone's Throw from Paradise, pt. 2

“High tide. Hmmph,” he thought to himself, with an almost sneer of dissatisfaction. So many of his years were spent striving to dip his feet into the ocean, and when it finally arrived, he couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed. It was like 10:30 in the morning on Christmas day, when you’ve opened all of your presents and played with all of your toys, and then you’re left with a room full of shredded wrapping paper and an anti-climactic feeling in the pit of your stomach.

“What’s the matter,” she asked him, noticing his contorted face. By this time, he had already walked back onto the beach, sitting in the sand far from the water. “Isn’t it everything you’ve ever dreamed of?” She stood there, letting each wave break over her body, enveloping her in the water and washing away any hint of struggle or shame or anything else she carried into the ocean’s arms.

He struggled with his words. “Well, I thought…I wanted something more…” His voice trailed off, he hung his head in shame, and he began to weep. “I’ve spent my whole life crying out for this. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. And now, I’m here, I’m sitting right in front of the water and I can taste the salt on my lips, but all I can think about is that stone. That god-damned stone!” The tears fell, creating little pools in the sand. And just like that, she realized something. It wasn’t dissatisfaction that kept him away. It was fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the ocean’s unpredictability. Fear of what it might do to him. Though that stone was a burden, it was predictable. For so long, he lived under the weight of those chains, and without realizing it, those chains became a part of his identity. He simply didn’t know what to make of himself without them.

Without a word, she walked over to him, sat down, and gave him the only hug he’d ever had. He had never felt such love, such tenderness. She put her hands on the scars left by the chains. He flinched a bit, but then relaxed as his heart opened and filled with trust. She gently kissed each scar, kisses full of life and vitality, kisses full of forgiveness and redemption.

“You are beautiful,” she whispered into his ear. “You are beautiful.” She took his hand in hers and walked him to the edge of the water. No words spoken, no sound other than the rhythm of the waves. Their eyes met, and for a second she thought she saw him look back to the shore and all the complacency and comfort it might bring. Then, without warning, he threw himself under the waves. He felt the cool, crisp water dancing on his back. It was as if all the pain of the world he once carried was simply washed away. Even his scars felt wonderful.

As he came up to take a breath, she yelled from the shore, “How do you feel?”

“Clean,” he said. “And beautiful.”

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