In a season like Ocean, it’s hard to tell whether you are moving forward or backward or in circles all around. This torment of not knowing gnaws at any healing being done in me and I fear these orange flowers will wilt and disappear. But every day, Aneta teaches me how to look at the sky and admire the water without looking ahead to what I cannot control. She shows me how to soak in every sunrise and sunset. She says to enjoy what is right here and expectantly wait for more goodness to come. She says the Light-Maker sees us here and creates all sorts of glorious displays just for us.
When I asked Aneta how long she had been drifting on Ocean, her voice came out jagged and sharp, “I’ve not been drifting, Maryn. I’ve been living.”
Living not drifting.
What was the difference? I could barely understand her answer then, but I’m starting to see now, because Aneta keeps showing me the difference.
Watching the sunrise takes my mind off Ocean even though I am in the wide expanse of it. I gaze upward as the soft colors grow vibrant, the birds come alive, and the blue of Ocean becomes more pronounced. The Island I used to love is like a shadow. If I look very carefully, I can see the blurry yet destroyed images rustling in the water, but then the light moves and I am eased back into the present. And hope expands right here in the middle of Ocean.
As the sun moves into the sky, Aneta wakes up to the morning, but she is immediately intent on something in the distance. She jostles my shoulder, “Maryn! You should have woken me up sooner. Look!” I follow Aneta’s urgent hand motions to see another Island.
My heart leaps in my chest. Maybe Peace is taking me back! Maybe Ocean is over! But as I stare more intently, I notice the Island is shaped differently than mine, and it’s exploding in darkness and disarray. A thousand flashbacks to the life I used to know freeze my whole body.
Frantic breathing replaces my gathered hope. I can only think about myself and all I have lost. For agonizing seconds, my whole heart is being thrust between the past and the present, the things I desired and the unasked for beauty that’s a part of me now. My body stands still in shock.
My heart plummets and dances and sinks and swims in circles around my mind.
Aneta is shouting, “HELP ME, MARYN! GET OUT OF YOURSELF!”
Her words are harsh, deep, still kind. I look down to see Aneta grasping hold of another woman, battered like I had been. The weight of Ocean–grief, pain, and suffering–grips her body tight as Aneta uses all her strength to help the unconscious woman onto Peace. The storm has subsided, but the darkness persists.
I grab Aneta’s waist, and we work together until the sinking woman lies unconscious on Peace. I see her dress of dead things. Her body is marked by wounds and scars and pain unimaginable. I am not the only one to know suffering. Even still, all I can see is my old Island and my old dresses–these mirages and memories of me.
I cannot take my eyes from the scars littering this woman’s arms and face, but I hear Aneta say, “She is in for beauty. I can’t wait to see the gifts she’ll receive and the dress she’ll get to wear.”
I shrink to my knees, taken aback by Aneta. I remain transfixed with my pain, but Aneta sees what cannot be seen—the hope of beauty, the surety of life remade into something good. I marvel at Aneta’s kindness for everyone, her love for living, and her never-ending anticipation of sunrise and sunset. To Aneta, Ocean is a canvas which holds more light than pain.
Aneta tends to the unconscious woman and I stay quiet, eyes steadfast to the sky. Humility cloaks my gaze, and I’m urged to look down. When I do, I see manzanita leaves weaving with the orange flowers on my dress. Pink blossoms pop through. Thousands of them. I don’t deserve to be dressed in more beauty. Not after today. Surely not. After all, I’m still here thinking about myself while Aneta helps the dying woman. And yet, the manzanita blossoms keep popping through bright and vibrant.
This must be Grace grabbing hold again.
Copyright © 2019 Sierra V. Fedorko, All rights reserved.