Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Holy

She looked down at the sand, thinking about last night's dinner and silently chiding herself for eating that extra piece of steak, especially because she knew she wasn't even that hungry.

I'll do better today, she promised herself. 

She contemplated the sand as she walked. It was low tide. By the time she got dressed and back outside, the water will have covered her footsteps, erasing all evidence that she had ever been there. The broken shells cracked under her feet as she walked, making sharp sounds as she stepped. 

Broken.

Just like how I feel, she thought. 

Yesterday had been a day just like any other, except for the fact that she was on vacation in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Clear aqua-colored water, white sand beaches and palm trees dotting the shoreline. Perfect sunsets. Beautiful resorts. 

The finer things in life. 

Yet as she had ventured out in her black bikini with the ruffled halter top and the short, flouncy skirt, she couldn't think of anything other than the hips that she was sure were swaying just a little too much, the stomach that she surely could not suck in any more, the skin that despite all her best efforts would never be the perfect tan she wanted. She settled on the beach, thankful for the protection of her umbrella--from eyes as well as from the sun. To the casual observer, she was simply just another tourist, finding shade and a breeze underneath her umbrella, but for her, it represented protection, just like the wall she had built around her heart.

She observed the other tourists on the beach and imagined how they must be reacting to her presence. Imagined them thinking how pale she looked, how she should drop a few pounds, how she shouldn't be wearing that bikini.   Were those the voices of others, or was the voice her own? She looked down at the ground, filled with shame and guilt and regret. If only she had worked a little harder, eaten a little less, been a little more disciplined. 

But even with yesterday just a memory, she still clung to the shame, held onto it like a punishment, remembering it so it would drive her to work harder, longer, faster. 

She could hear the waves pounding against the shore, but she was focused on the sand as she picked up her pace, her head down, her heart defeated. 

She was lost in her thoughts, the sound of the crashing waves and the calling seagulls distant, her mind dark.

Where had her joy gone? Is this what she was living life for? To count calories and then run them off as soon as she could? 

Somewhere in the back of her head, a still, small voice urged her to look up. When she forced her eyes up, off the sand, she was shocked by the beauty and the fierceness of the ocean that she was standing in front of. The sun was still rising, shimmering off the surface of the water, making her squint at the reflection. As far as she could see there was water and nothing else, the expanse of it causing her to catch her breath. 

Beautiful. 

She hung her head, looking at the sand again, pondering how she had gotten off-track, how quickly her heart had been deceived. Then she drank in the beauty of the ocean, it's power and strength, it's commanding presence. She could feel the wall she had so careful constructed around her heart start to crumble. 

Yes, I'll do better today, she promised as she smiled to herself. 

Much better. 

So what do I know of you,
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood,
But the shores along your ocean?
Are you fire? Are you fury?
Are you sacred? Are you beautiful?
So what do I know? What do I know of Holy?
{addison road, what do I know of holy}

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