I love the fact that people can’t decide if it was a fish or a whale. As though the two are interchangeable, but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s where I am right now. When we moved into what I’m calling home right now, I had my heart set on some sort of beach theme, even though we’re hundreds of miles away from the sea. Blue and white and grey. “Yankees colors” because my friends are diplomatic.
Sea stars on my shower curtain, waves on the wall. Externalizing the ocean that is within me, knowing that my outward claims about wanting to move by the sea are to keep up appearances, only. I already live not even by the ocean but between the crests and troughs of the waves, my soul buoyed by whatever buoyancy is granted to people like me. Every day, I fight You. Every day, You win. I wrestle with Your grace as if it’s my decision, as if I’m the one who decides if You’ll rescue Your prodigal child or not. As if the monster I see in the mirror can contend with leviathan, contend with You.
Day after day, I jump into the ocean, obstinate, defiant, kicking and screaming for You to let me go because I don’t want to live in this body anymore. I read and listen to Your word but I can’t hear You. The ocean is too loud, and I am meant to live in the sea. Screaming in pain because I can’t accept Your grace. Writhing on the floor because I can’t accept Your love. Drowning but still alive because I can’t look at the reflection of the work of Your hands in mirrored glass.
Pride is my gravest sin, far more deadly than the flags I used to fly. I look my children in the eye and tell them that they can’t put You in a box, that it’s Your decision, Your will, Your way. But I drive down the driveway barely victorious over the urge to turn right, to turn towards the end, to turn towards death. Because I put You in a box. Pride is my greatest downfall, has me driving home when I can barely see straight, giving myself a hug because I don’t let the people who care hold onto me. Not calling until I’m about to succumb to the will of the waves, crest to crest, trough to trough, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
You’re relentless. I sit and stare at the wall, stare at the door, fixated on the blinking red light that keeps me safe from him, empty. Nothing. Because what I want to feel is exactly that. I put up walls so You can’t wash over me, but I’m so exhausted that the levees are broken. I watch the hallway, fighting Your decision to fill my empty self back up with the name that I was given at birth because I don’t want to ruin my eyeliner.
I say I can’t but it’s not the fact that I can’t, it’s the fact that I don’t want to. I don’t want to know what happens when I lose control. I’m still living within your sea animal, haven’t even made it to Nineveh. I want to throw up the monster inside me the same way this whale will eventually spit me out on dry land. So I can appreciate the ocean that You have created instead of drowning amidst the work of my own hands.
I know You’ll ask me, too, I know You’ll ask, “Is it right for you to be angry?” The answer is objectively no, but I am an entity of living rage, red-hot to offset the Yankees colors in my house. Blue, white, grey. I’m failing to see past my own fury, forgetting about the unfathomable power of Yours. Job cannot tame leviathan and neither can I. Jonah didn’t expel himself from the belly of the whale.
My pride has been the death of my sanity. I’m writing about people who mattered enough to be included amidst the pages of Your word. Job couldn’t answer You, so who am I to think I can? Jonah never made it to Tarshish, so how could I think that I could complete the same journey? I bob up, down, up, down, up, down, a rubber duck like the one on my dashboard trapped in the ocean, at the mercy of the waves. Your waves. Your will, Your way. I run my mouth the way I run from my problems, refusing to think about the fact that my muscles will eventually fail to produce adenosine triphosphate through any biological pathway. I can’t stop. I can’t stop.
Scripture says we shouldn’t be putting You to the test but I want to know that You’ll catch me if I fall. When I fall. You are inevitable.