At times my single greatest fight is against the pull to drift. The urge to withdraw, coast out with the tide.
Floating along in the rhythm of life, I am content to stay, remain close to the shoreline, camp out on the beaches of community. Until an off-beat wave appears, out of synch with my rhythm and I drift a spell further from the shore. Waves of hurt in relationship, a stumbling day of work in the office of “Mommy,” or one too many comments laced with ingratitude and I began to feel the pull. The tide of withdrawal building. We are a people created for community, built for relationship. And yet, those very places of life lived closely is where toes are crunched and elbows knocked about. As I hop around on one foot, nursing the ache of boundaries overstepped, instinctually I pull in around the wound- allowing another wave to take me.
Is it really the ugly of a hurt delivered at the hands of a loved one that I drift from? Or the realization that the sting I feel staring into the eyes of ingratitude runs thick because it illuminates my own places of thankless, joyless living? And if so, how does the withdraw do anything but surround myself alone with my greatest battlefield, myself? “We hold all the keys to our undoing,” sings the song…Perhaps I need the process of drifting far enough away from the safety of the shoreline before I can appropriately recognize, it is not the community I am tentative over, but rather what those relationships may reveal about myself. Revelations I’d rather let drift by out of reach, gone from sight amid the waves of life breaking around me.
Just as the tide carries out, it ushers in. Drifting further from the hands of those close, another off-beat wave appears by way of a phone call “just because,” or the sincerity of a few simple words written, this time pulling me back in closer to the beach. Soon, I drift near enough to catch glimpses of smiles, notes of laughter caught in the wind, and tension softens, walls topple over just as quickly as they were constructed, and the sense of home returns. Once again bobbing along to life near the shoreline, back in the midst of those often-clumsy elbows and feet, the lovely and the painful. Resolved to fight the drifting for another day. I float to shore.