I don’t know why but I always imagined the ocean to be smooth. I always pictured the shore consistently being washed by the tide and then drying as it left. There were waves in my image, yes, but they were calm, peaceful. Long before I even imagined any of it, water has been a symbol of hope, of love, of cleanliness, the washing away of all that stains our broken hearts.
But it isn’t always smooth. It isn’t always consistent and it isn’t always calm. And it terrifies me to no end. I always loved water, the kind in pools and lakes, rivers and raindrops, filling my cup, but I hate the ocean. It’s rough and unpredictable and exciting and I hate it. I want peace that doesn’t come with so many waves. I want to imagine that I don’t need that much water.
My life flipped upside down a few months ago. I felt as though all of that water was being poured over me all at once. I can be reminded over and over that it was for my own good, and it was. I can feel joy and happiness about what it brought me. But I refuse to be happy about the way it was poured. I go back to that day in my head all the time and I remind myself that the one dunking me in the water did it with good intentions and I like to think that her words didn’t hurt, but they did. And I’m done lying to myself about that.
But still, the water washed over my mind and it was thick, like paint, leaving markings of hope and love. It’s like instead of taking things away like I always imagine water to do, it’s putting more on me. It’s better but if I’m being honest, I hardly notice it. It’s made me admit a lot about myself to myself, things I always knew but imagined I could keep hidden. I never expected the water to wash all of that to shore.
Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. Maybe that is peace or the start of it anyway. It’s not the taking away of the old and unwanted, but bringing in the new and needed. I don’t know, but I do know that it is good. It is everything I imagined it to be and everything I didn’t. It is both calm and rough, both consistent and unpredictable. Water drowns us, but it also quenches thirst.
And as much as I hate to admit it, it is good.