"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."
~ Douglas Adams
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Broken and Battered like the Shore
I stood in the shower, the tears streaming down my face, almost as hot as the water that ran from the faucet. I felt my heart pounding faster in my chest, as my blood pressure must have soared higher and higher. A million thoughts ran through my mind as the emotions swept over me, until I though perhaps I might shatter into a million pieces and wash down the drain alongside my tears and the soap suds. I've read in books where they talk about heaving sobs, but I never really understood what that was like, until that moment when I experienced it for myself. I cried until there were no more tears left to cry, and I finished my shower. My brain was on overload as I dried off, and I kept coming back to the same thing... I can't stay here. Not today. Nothing good was going to come of my being there, and the thought of it hurt almost more than I could bear. I knew that if I stayed, things were going to get said that I was going to regret, and that it was just going to make things worse. I knew where I needed to go, and I knew that it was early enough in the day that I could get there. I layered on some warm clothes, packed a tote bag with my purse, my
knitting bag, my iPad, a blanket, and packed a lunch. I filled my gallon
jug full of water, grabbed my phone and told him goodbye.
When he asked where I was going, I told him I didn't know, but I did. I was headed to the ocean. I was going as far away from home as I possibly could get. I was going to drive the miles, and miles it took to get there, and therapeutically cry my heart out along the open roads. Instead, I told him that I needed to leave. That it hurt too much to be there right now, and that in order to stay, I had to go. That I was probably going to the beach, to sit and stare at the water and think about why it was I wanted to keep doing this. I explained to him how I was feeling, and why I was hurt, and I felt my frustration with him rising higher and higher because I feel like I keep telling him the same things over and over and he just doesn't seem to get it. I explained why I couldn't stay there, and why I needed to leave, and he said nothing. He sat there and looked at me, and said nothing. So I picked up my bags, and my water, and said goodbye again. And I left.
On a late Sunday in April, it takes about 2 hours to drive from my house to the ocean. Half of it is back country roads, and half of it is highway driving. Between the sunshine, the music of the radio, and the tears that continued to fall as I drove, I was staring at the shoreline before I knew it. There is something about the water that speaks to my soul. I don't know what it is, but it has always been there.. even when I was a little girl. I knew in my heart, that right then, that was where I needed to be. I sat in our van, at the far end of the beach, near where I was going to have to turn to get back on the highway to go home and ate my lunch. Normally, I love a picnic lunch, especially one taken to the beach, but I had to force myself to eat. If I didn't have a weight deficit already, and the scale wasn't down again that morning, I might have skipped it all together. As I ate, I sat and watched the people walking together along the walk next to the ocean wall, and I almost regretted coming. How was I going to manage with all these happy couples?
I walked from one end of the beach, down to the jetty at the other end near the state park, and back again. It was very windy at the ocean, and the wind was blowing the sand in neat ripples along the beach. Despite the heartache I was feeling inside, I must have looked welcoming outside, because two different groups of people on horseback asked if I wouldn't mind taking their photos against the ocean. Of course I wouldn't. One of them had come up behind me and the woman who handed me her phone remarked that I was a "good, fast walker". I wanted to tell her it was because I couldn't run. That I had all this frustration inside of me that needed to get out, and speed walking along the waters edge was the best that I could manage on the day. Instead I thanked her, took their photo and complimented them on their gorgeous horses. There are still good people left in this world. As I walked along the beach, I couldn't help but notice the other couples who were there. Laughing, and talking, and enjoying each others company. I wondered why we can't have that. Why, even when we walked along the beach a few years ago on our anniversary, we walked along in silence. I wondered why things are so hard right now, and why we are struggling so hard even though we both want things to work out and get better. I kept my eyes open for a shell, as the tide was going out, and I told God that I'd love a sand dollar as a reminder of this day. Something to look at when things got hard, to remember how I had come to the beach so that I could go home and keep on trying some more. No less than 5 minutes later I came across one lying in the sand.
All in all, my walk up and back the beach took an hour. If it hadn't have been so chilly, I might have done it one more time, but my hands were cold and the wind was just too much. Instead, I went back to the van and sat and stared at the water. I did a lot of thinking, a lot of talking to God, and then I knit on a baby sweater that I'm making. It got to be around the time I planned on leaving, so I went to use the bathroom, and then I left. The drive home is always quicker then the drive there, and I have to say, I wasn't looking forward to getting home. I knew that dinner was going to be ready sometime (lucky for me, it was right after I got there), and that I had things to do to get ready for this week of work, but for the first time in a long time, I actually dreaded walking into my own house. I spent a quiet evening by myself, and went to bed alone. Being at the ocean however, healed a part of my soul. It restored something deep within me, that gave me the strength to get through yesterday. It allowed me to have, for the first time in a long time, hateful, hurtful words thrown at me in anger, and be able to take them, and stay. To be hurt so deeply, and broken so hugely, and to not react back in anger and hurtfulness, which is what I probably would have done in the past. I don't know that I could have done that if I had not taken that trip out to the ocean on Sunday, for which I will be forever grateful.