Bathing in the Word
I am the word before time when I swim in the waves the icy waters seduce me by numbing the body I long to shrug off.
My eyes see only the gold light on the murky drab water.
My heart feels the immense silence that the hazy winter sky announces.
The shimmer of a distant sun pressing through layers of heavy cloud invites me to dive deeper into the icy endless seeming liquid.
Yet a little voice, perhaps the song of the robin I met on land, warns me not to fall prey to the feeling that I am the one, the only- capable of existing forever- in the bone chilling sea.
That voice says ‘Restrain yourself. Your friends are waiting beyond the undulating pebbled shore. Their vexing humanness will keep you floating on the waves longer than any solo efforts you imagine will draw you into eternity.’
So I splash up out of my reverie. Feeling my body again as it shivers,I rejoin humanity, running up the stony slope to the warmth of a man made home.
The seagulls mock me as I go; they fly so expertly just above the surface of the ocean.
Rain or shine they paddle, floating at their leisure, letting the same waves that have humbled me time and again simply swell and dissipate beneath them.
Somewhere in my heart the bird I am aches to join those gulls.
Instead I stand all human in the hot shower washing off the ice burn of the salt water that so briefly gave me a taste of what it is to be silent, all powerful and just a part of the landscape.
So later, walking into the countryside where I go to commune with horses, I focus on just being one small moving part of the book that is ever unfolding, a letter in the great word instead of the word itself.
The horse tells me I am not the word when she stares at me so mysteriously.
“If you were, you would know what I am saying to you.” She demurs as I plead with her…
“Who are you? What do you want?”
In answer she presents her brow, her shoulder, all the places that need tending. And, as I satisfy her desire for comfort, I hear the message she so voluptuously embodies,
“Love me. Only love all of me, the me here, the them there and the vast nothing you keep plunging into, love it by loving what you can hold.”
So I proceed in search of babies to carry thinking that is the way I must demonstrate that I am the word. And God puts old folks in my path who need the love that comes by seeing and doing little things; “Clip my toenails. Make my tea.”
On the shards of discarded fingernails and in murky sugar laden brew I see another kind of pebbled shore and soup like sea. It is a different place to swim as the word made flesh.
So do I go into the sea to forget the hardships of being human? Or do I leave the sea to flee the impossibility of just being satisfied with existing for eternity?
I daren’t get into it when someone asks “How was your swim?” I say one word. Every day it is a different word. Every day I get closer to finding the right answer. Is this what swimming with the Lord is like? Does the God who is three keep teaching the other parts how to answer or do they each take turns telling each other what to do?
Like, “Hey God, were you sleeping when that dove I gave you to love was dying?” Says the Holy Spirit.
Or, ”Man, Dad, you coulda picked a more mature person for me to be born of, why do I have to be the son of such teenage simplicity?”
And, ”How many times do I have to tell you two to stop asking questions and simply live through the answers that are in you?”
No, the word I am doesn’t teach or speak or seek expression.The word I am was the title of a book of poetry lost in the pages of all the publications being churned out in the world. It was a slim volume by a woman in the New World. She is a person dedicated to transmitting the only tradition that matters; peace. That infuriating word that causes so much strife. Her book is called “Is”.
Like the waves, the sky, and the little creature swimming through it all, almost imperceptible to the human eye. The swimmer who is a seeker unseen
Until she speaks to a prophet marching on the shore flinging food to the gulls.
“Hi Fred!” the woman in the waves says.
And the hunchback hardly anyone speaks to looks up. Later he will say he remembers seeing the word swimming and reveal how much he has taken in of her presence after she paid attention to him-even as she was almost disappeared in the frigid water.
Once I said it was a word that brought me back from the edge. Now I know it is always a person who draws me away from the empty aloneness back into the vast domain that is really where everyone swims as the word.