I don't believe in god, but if I did, I bet I know where I'd find him.
By Cheney on August 09, 2012
Today, I swam. Out past that point where the waves break on the shore. Out, even, past that point where the waves suck you toward them before they build to their crests. I was out in it, and it's different out there when you are closer to the buoys than you are to the beach. I'll tell you how I see it:
Out there, you really are alone. If you start to drown, or you are attacked by a shark, a lifeguard MIGHT be able to reach you in time, but they might not. That's your choice, to go out there. For some people that's normal. For some it's brave, for other's its reckless. For me, it's the closest I ever, ever come to god. And I don't believe in a god, so that's saying a lot.
Here's how you do it:
Swim out as far as you are comfortable doing so, and then swim out a little bit farther. Float on your back, facing away from the beach. Try to tune out what's left of the sound from over there, from the hundreds or thousands of people on the beach - really, out there, you can't hear much anymore anyway.
Take a look at what's in front of you: rolling waves of green touching the blue of the sky. Pretend there is nothing else. I promise that if you do this - you will have at least one moment where you know for sure that there IS nothing else.
Let the waves carry you.
You will rise and fall, and you will rise and fall. If you spread out your arms and legs and you put your trust in something, you won't sink, and you won't get hit in the face with a wave, and yeah, you probably won't be attacked by a shark. You don't even need to tread water, you will just rise and then you will fall, looking at that point where blue touches the green, and eventually the colors will blur, and you won't be able to tell anymore where the ocean ends and the sky begins, because you will be IN IT.
Like I said, I don't really believe in a god, or your God, or that we were consciously or intelligently created by some being. But I DO believe that there is some magic in the world and that it comes from wherever we came from, and out in the ocean where I can completely forget about the rest of the world existing for even a moment - it's hard not to think that when you are IN THE EARTH that you are a part of the earth, and if you are a part of the earth and you are IN IT - that is magic.
When you are swept up in life, sometimes it gets to feeling pointless. Sometimes it gets to feeling like the only reason I get up in the morning is so I can go to work to pay to live in a house I don't like and to just simply sustain myself, and it's monotonous, just going to work and coming home and doing the same things and seeing the same people and going to the same places, and thinking every day how right those Shins were when they sang "the days are long but the years go by so fast."
I park my car in the same general area in mall parking lot every day, and yet some evenings I step outside into the sun and have no clue where my car is - I can't remember the details of the days that blur together because so many of them are so much the same.
And I hate it, and I really don't want to do it anymore.
So I go out in the ocean and I rise and I fall and I rise and I fall, and I wonder what it would be like if I just faced east and kept on swimming until I couldn't anymore, and then I realize, holy shit, that's so messed up. Somewhere back there, there has to be a life for me.
It's like a reset button.
And I turn around and I kick my way back, and do you remember how that is, leaving the ocean?
At first the current pushes you slowly toward shore, and then faster. The rising and the falling that you do gets a little more violent, and all of a sudden when you fall, your feet are touching sand, and then slamming into sand, and then the waves start pulling you back as they build and build and rise and crest and break around you. So you have to decide to go back. You have to accept the fact that getting out of this mess and getting back to life might mean getting pushed around and falling down, and maybe even drowning. But, if you're like me, you'll eventually stumble to shore. You'll pick seaweed out of your boobs and peel your swimsuit out of your ass and waddle up the beach, and you won't care anymore that you look huge in your bathing suit, because damnit, you just swam in the vicinity of creation, and you are a goddess.
For like two minutes. Because the entire time you've been flirting with god and death and the will to go on living, your kid has been begging grandpa to take her swimming too, and he didn't much feel like getting wet.
Such is life.
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