Here there is the rip tide.
And you know what you do when you are caught in a rip tide?
You ride it out.
It carries you further away from the beach
but if you don’t panic eventually the current releases you
and you can swim in.
Then you only have to worry about exhaustion
or being swallowed by something from below. . .
When I look at myself,
I see someone
who has been just a little beaten up.
My white skin is blotchy from sun exposure. My eyes are bloodshot.
I’m slightly unshaven. A little hurt in my sleepless eyes.
No anger though. I don’t feel any anger at all.
I feel disappointment, and sometimes a deep sadness
for all the suffering of life on the planet.
By 66, you need to have figured some things out on your own!
To be able to close your eyes, set up the video camera and talk about life,
talk about what you have figured out.
No ranting. No whining.
Talk to your children, your grandchildren,
other people’s children.
Talk to your people.
Talk about how you experience the universe,
what you make of the unconditional love of the universe,
what you make of aging,
and the wonder of it all.
I think a lot of us have felt the rip tide these days, pulling us out of the shallows into deep water against our resolve to stay where it’s safer. The rip tide is a metaphor for the panicky feeling of losing control of our position, our goals, even our grasp on reality. We’re in the grip of something that has us and no amount of struggling to return to our safe spot is going to make any difference; we have to ride out a bad situation, fully aware that things are getting worse. . .much worse. Then, almost miraculously we are released, not because of anything we did, but because that is the situation. Everyone is in it, everyone who isn’t living in a total fantasy, hiding behind ornate gates and walls, medicated to the max, owes it to their neighbor to take advantage of the lulls to return to our center, to take inventory, to remember who we are and what we were working on before we were sucked off our feet, away from our confidence, away from our resilience and purpose. And speak up! Witness! Say what it feels like to live in a crazy dangerous, off-kilter world so that the folks of the future will not have to live with the rip tide.