"This is not the end
This is not the beginning
Just a voice like a riot
Rocking every revision
But you listen to the tone
And the violent rhythm
And though the words sound steady
Something empties within 'em"
- Linkin Park
Last day on the Big Island. Sky almost cloudless. That breeze rifling through the palm trees. Birdsong. Writing in a bikini. Thinking, among other things, about all the words I've spilled forth on behalf of love. The exultations and questionings, the pleadings and convictions, the doubt and investigations, the slippings and squirmings, the losses and healings, all of them cycling through over and back again. "This is not the end / this is not the beginning" the song reminds me. Maybe there's no such thing as completion, no such thing as beginning again. We are always coming from somewhere and going somewhere else. A sailboat maneuvering its way through the ocean. No way to turn back exactly the way we came.
We try. We burn old letters. Give away what is too bittersweet to keep. Destroy the evidence of what was. Purge and cleanse and make grand statements about what we are putting behind us. Take workshops. Climb walls. Escape to Hawaii. Find comfort in the metaphors and wisdom of the natural world. Do our best to slough off the skin of our pain, the stubborn remainder of the hope for reconciliation we carry. We imagine the ocean like a great mikvah, salting our wounds clean, and dive under again and again, tell ourselves we are done grieving now, that a new chapter has turned, our hearts restored.
"The words sound steady" enough. They do. But this isn't where healing happens. Healing is a matter of watching and waiting, of peace and patience and time time time. The sailboat aligning with the rhythm of that water. Something in us adjusting to the wind, the current, the inevitable motion of what's carrying us. Not fighting it.
I tell myself, "You are where you are." I sip my coffee and look at the horizon and breathe and blink and tilt my face aginst the breeze and listen for the birds and and put sunscreen on my nose and chest and belly and legs to keep from burning.
This isn't the end. This isn't the beginning. This is an unnameable middle, where life is perpetually bobbing and steadying itself, tipping and turning, speeding and slowing, and all the while moving - inescapably, irrestibly, ingeniously - forward.