By Aaron Nichols
I’ve slipped lately. I’ve floated away. Adrift upon currents that criss-cross and flow to God-only-knows, this kind of travel feels as ethereal and romantic, as it does chaotic and lost.
I’m falling in love with this aimless buoyancy, on a new level.
Do you prefer order to anarchy? Would you rather experience repetition instead of adventure? How about structure vs. freedom? Hmm… tricky to answer.. no?
In our world, here in our home, the juicy and lovely and tantalizing moments lately, have come in being open to anything. It isn’t as much an intentional letting-go as it is showing up with no agenda. Just an overall idea that I want to help, and to serve, and that’s it. It’s a bigger trust than I’m used to. To be a castaway, instead of a frantic paddler splashing my dingy ever so slightly toward a far-off lighthouse, that I’m hoping exists when I get there. Or even worse, to untie for a short trip around the little marina, again, waving to everyone that I wave to every day, and safely returning, well before sunset, to clean off the droplets and button-down again for the night. Just like I did yesterday, and the day before, since the beginning.
I’ve have seen some powerful stuff unfolding this week. Tectonic plates are grinding and shifting. The sun is now rising and blasting light into formerly dark and remote valleys. Yes, mountains are falling into the sea. Are these the kind of changes that can happen with a perfectly diagrammed to-do list, and an app on my smart-phone to track my productivity?
This is the the work of something bigger than me. This work is immense. This is the work that can only be seen and experienced when I let go of the safety of the dock and my daily routine. It’s not create-able, it’s not plan-able, it will never become, with even the most thorough ‘getting-things-done-ness’, I can muster up.
This is the unfolding of eons of tiny continental movements. I can’t move continents. But God can. I can’t make myself arrive at a new destination that I don’t even know exists, but God can. I can keep myself respectably tied and anchored into my little mooring spot, and pretend that life doesn’t rock me and move me with storms. I can say, ‘I’m doing good. Yes, I’m very busy.’ with scurrying around performing routine maintenance on my vessel, re-positioning the knick-knacks, while it sits in the same place day after day. But God made us to sail.
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”
– Grace Murray Hopper
See God created us to move upon the seas, thrusted by the winds, resting in the calms. His winds, divine powers, blow the damn doors off our puny little pattlin’ efforts. I’ve seen it happening lately.
In case you’ve wondered, yes, I live on a different planet now. I don’t inhabit the same ol’ Earthly places that I used to know. It is another world here. It’s absent of so much familiarity, which I miss often. Especially when the storms hit. The community, the crew, where I used to belong, is far away now. It’s a choice to be out here. But lately, there is evidence of new land on the horizon. Mirage or not, it’s the only new sight seen for months. It ignites the heart, to dream of what may lie ahead, on these new shores.
The truth amongst all this metaphor, is that lately the magic, the progress, the delights in my life have developed in the ‘in-between’. They’ve materialized from the ether and I can’t explain how they’ve arrived. Serendipity is too cute. Coincidence doesn’t exist. Seeing is believing though.
Stuff that I’ve dreamed about for years is about to happen. A wish for another, becomes, with perfect timing. Release and surrender and nimble anticipation of ‘what’s next’, is electric in this appropriate springtime moment. The only moment. The now moment. Yes, now is when it happens for me, for you, from God.
Sometimes now is the calm, as the breeze settles and humidity rises and the stillness can unnerve us. Everything comes in waves however. Even stagnation. It passes with a cleansing rain. We’re fresh again, the sail ripples and snaps. We tighten our lines, crank the winches, redirect and laugh and smile. Waves lapping our sides, we’re again on the move. Action is exhilaration, not arrival.
Open up our mind. Cut away the old knots, don’t waste time to untangle. Supplies? We’ve got plenty… Really. Skills? They only come through practice. We’ll never be ready. Every storm is different anyway. Every day unique. What worked today, won’t tomorrow. Except eagerness, willingness, resolve and imagination. ‘How’ are we ‘supposed’ to do it? Who cares? ‘How’ is a crippling question we all want to know. Forget it forever. Look back afterward and see that the ‘How’ was magic. The ‘How’ was the hand of God. The ‘How’ was saying Yes, and showing up. The ‘How’ only appears in the story, after the action.
Scary? Yes. That’s why the seas are wide open, and the ‘safe’ harbors crammed full.
Can we die out there? Will we perish at night, crashed hard by a rogue wave? Some will. But all will perish anyway. Some never seeing a sunrise beyond the horizon of home. A crusted and barnacled structure sun-bleached and worn-through by rot, rather than use. Sails neatly folded and new, wrapped tight in wait of an adventure that never was. Abuse of our gifts, if you ask me. But then again, if you read this far, I’m not writing about You.
There are few who come here. Few who read these messages in a bottle. For those few, I thank you.
I am blessed lately to recognize the magic and see that it’s not me. I am aware that these bright highlights have come through the most mysterious ways. I am just open, I have no plan, I am ready to receive, and don’t care if you would rather hear the How-To’s and Top 10 Ways. That stuff, that mesmerizing and delicious stuff, keeps us stuck: only learning How it worked for someone else. Our way is unique. It’s never been done before, and never will again. We all get this opportunity. It’s our birthright. We are divine children of the Almighty, we are vessels, we shall Sail!
(In loving dedication to my uncle, Captain Stephen R. Nichols.)
For more on Aaron Nichols, please visit: www.weirdforgood.com