Chapter 8: Grace and Horror

Morning gives way to afternoon and the reality of Ocean meets up against my heart in a heavy way. But I’m resolved to make space. . .to be willing. I don’t chase away the heaviness, but I don’t let it choke my mind. Fragile joy is growing in the new spaces and light fills in all the inconsistencies.

I glance to the other side of our floating home and notice Aneta is picking flowers from her own dress. She gingerly plucks at the sunflowers and violets. She chooses the prettiest ones and thoughtfully makes an arrangement. 

I don’t understand.

Doesn’t she know picked flowers become dead flowers? Why would she take her own beauty and make it die? Aneta sings to herself quietly while rearranging her bouquet again and again until it meets her approval. She is happy, undaunted, but I instinctively pull my knees to my chest, protecting my own beautiful things. Read more

Chapter 7: Making Space

I stare at my reflection, mouth gaping open. This couldn’t be me, right? But it is. It is me. I kneel on the edge of Peace and lean closer to the water. My fingers tap at Ocean and it echoes with ripples that sparkle in the morning light. Or is that light from all that’s new in me?

“You’ve seen it then?”

I jump at the sound of Aneta’s voice, but have no chance to reply. Aneta always has so much to say.

“You’ve finally seen the life in your eyes. Oh, Maryn! That changes everything! Because when you finally see the life in your eyes, then you can finally see life well.”

I nod my head at Aneta’s voice, not fully grasping what it means to see life with life-filled eyes. But Aneta is proof that life-eyes are real and true. She defies this wilderness of waves with her vibrancy and passionate enjoyment of each day.

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Chapter 6: This Is Peace. You’re Safe.

The woman has been motionless for a few days. When the Ocean storms rage, we cover her with our hand-made seaweed blankets. The seaweed is sun-dried, abundant, and surprisingly warm though lightweight.

I watch as the dying woman breathes. Aneta’s shift is about to begin. Our time is devoted to this woman’s lungs. Keeping her warm, shielding her from the sun, making sure her shallow breaths get through and begin again.

My Island is barely a shadow in my memory now. I contemplate Old Maryn. Is she still about to die? Is she still ragged and desperate? Is she still in the meadow or was that destroyed too? I shake my head to rid the questions. I do not want to get lost in the nightmares of my Island. . .it is enough to endure Ocean for another night.

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Chapter 5: Mirages and Memories of Me

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.

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