June 26, 2015
Sometimes, life sets out to humble you. A tidal wave knocks you down, sending you tumbling without knowing which way is up. Your lungs burn from the strain of holding your breath. You ache for air. You surface, inhale, and see another wave. This one smashes you harder than the first. You tumble, weightless and unable to do anything to stop the terrifying ride. Eventually, life spits you out and you land, clinging, on the shore.
Each breath hurts. You throb and feel the pounding heartbeat in places you didn’t know existed. You’re filled with a mix of anger, disbelief, gratitude, and humility. Now, you are woefully aware of how fragile you are. That single strand of knowledge causes intense pain. It stings. It throbs. Your nerves send lighting bolts of pain to travel down your spine.
You are insignificant and the center of the universe all at once. It freezes. Racing down the gauntlet of human emotion, you ran as hard and as fast as your broken body can manage. At the finish line, you emerge badly wounded and exhilarated by cheating death. It is a paradox, a profound oxymoron, and a staggering puzzle that manages to make complete sense when the blood and sweat is wiped from your eyes.
The fragile body that you laid claim to bleeds. Tears pour down your face from overfilled eyes. Scorn radiates from your posture while you shout joyful gratitudes to the universe. A moment. A pause. Fists lifted, angrily shaking at the unseen deity that allowed you to be beaten by the waves, the gauntlet, existence. Hands, folded reverently in prayer, knuckles turning white as lips move in a frantic chant of thanks.
After unfolding stiff hands, you beg. You please. You make offers of compromise, you beg to trade this current existence for something, anything, else. The adrenaline and shock set in; the body begins to tremble violently. Another loss. Another stumbling block. Square your shoulders, push yourself up. Extend the muscles of your legs into propelling your body upward, pretending the burn, the ache, strain are figments of your imagination. Standing, chest heaving, eyes straight ahead, you will one foot to move. Now the opposite foot. Three small steps. Four. Demanding more, the number continues to increase until you find yourself sanding on your sandy salvation once more.
The salt breeze whips hair across your face, entwining in your eyelashes and making it impossible to see without rubbing the heels of your hands into your eyes to attempt to clear the strands. The water continues to tumble forward, draw backward. Memories of salt water invading your nostrils demand respect. The inability to tell up from down causes fear to rise in your gut. Courage fuels the taunt muscles that quiver as the white crests crash into your feet.
It’s another day. Another goddamn beautiful day.