"Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange."
More recently, we take a sea-change to mean a mystical and profound transformation. Well, this past spring I faced "full fathom five," and a sea-change has been calling to me.
A couple of weeks ago, I took a walk all alone on the beach in early morning. Just me and the sea-birds, a mug of hot coffee, and a warm, smooth rock for a seat in the brightening sun. Best coffee I'd ever tasted. I never wanted to leave. The shoreline, the horizon, the birds gathering unperturbed all around me; that was all I thought about. The only human sounds were my own slow, quiet steps on the wet sand. Nobody hurrying me. I knew it was time to surrender.
So, with the warm support of my dear friends at ECVA, I've embarked on a sabbatical. It's a voyage to a place unknown. I won't come back the same as before; facing down "full fathom five" has called for many changes in my life. I need a permanent slower pace. More quiet. Less stress. More of the right kind of listening - the unhurried kind, with no expectations, only receptivity. More of that "human touch" Bruce Springsteen wrote about.
A good friend of mine, a brilliant light in my soul, laid down one of his last drum tracks on "Human Touch." His hands on the drum set make the song both spooky and compelling. My friend has gone his full fathom five.
One thing I need to do on my sabbatical is understand how dear ones - like my friend, and others - can be here and then not here. But for the grace of God, I would not be here myself. My oldest son, Joren, saved my life. So I need to understand how it can be that I was on the border of here and gone, and then came back. And, how it can be that I gave life to someone who, many years later, literally gave life to me. It's hard to make sense of all that.
Isn't it strange how water seems so important to both healing and change? When John the Baptist immersed Jesus in the River Jordan, Jesus emerged forever changed in the eyes of the world. We are conceived, and grow, in fluid; at birth, we emerge from it - never again the same. Now I've had an extraordinary experience: I've slipped back into the water. I can't help but think of an old Talking Heads song that I always loved:
"Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Push me in the river, dip me in the water
Washing me down, washing me ..."
I need to be in the water, and I need to be healed - and then I need to emerge. And I will be forever different afterward. Water is the sign of change. A sea-change - something rich and strange. I know it is time to let the waves wash over me.
I am grateful to be able to share these thoughts, and these experiences, here at the Sketchbook. I don't know what will come of them. My hope is that they will be of some use to someone. I look forward to posting here as time progresses, and to hearing from those of you for which any of this strikes a chord.
May God bless you all, and give you gratitude for the miracle of life - so easily lost.
© 2007, Brie Dodson