In the arms of the ocean, so sweet and so cold,
And all this devotion I never knew at all,
And the crashes are heaven, for a sinner like me.
But the arms of the ocean delivered me.
I found myself wandering the hospital hallways early this morning singing that beautiful Florence and The Machine tune and it brought back something I hadn't thought of in a very long time: when I was a freshman in college, I used to hum whenever I walked through the halls of Dean-Eaton, where I lived. Ask Rebecca Hodges, if you ever see her in the Chicago area. I miss that girl and wonder where the heck she ended up. She always used to tease me for singing all the time. I have a terrible singing voice, but I couldn't care less. Singing feels good and it's sure sign you've landed where you belong, when you are moved to sing out loud, damn the listeners.
When I arrived at the chaplain office this morning (after my 24-hour on-call shift), I felt like reading for a few minutes, so I took a random book off the shelf called This Is The Day, and opened it to a random page. It was entitled "Commitment" and sub-titled "Going Under," which turned out to be part of a line from the very song I had been singing all morning: "And it's over, and I'm going under, but I'm not giving up, I'm just giving in." The story in the chapter was about an exchange between Peter and Jesus in which Peter attempts to walk across water toward Jesus and of course loses faith half-way there, sinks and is embarrassed. "What happened?' asks Peter. "I'll tell you what happened" replies Jesus, "You stopped looking at me and started looking at the waves."
It was nearly eight months ago today when I stood beside sweet Reid's bed in the ICU while he was dying. Yesterday I encountered the wonderful woman who had been his nurse in the short time he was there, Carol, and I told her that my time there and encounter with her had changed my life. We hugged and cried and reveled in the strange twist of fate that got me there, waking up in the hospital on Thanksgiving day. There have been waves crashing all around me for the duration of this journey, but some crazy brand of mystical devotion continues to propel me forward and nearly every day the person I need shows up to let me know that I'm in the right ocean at the right time, gazing in the right direction.
Wow. Life. Last week the WMO gave a tropical storm my namesake and my brilliant friend, Douglas, placed my name on one of his gorgeous candles. The sweet, salty ocean and some warm light in the dark days of winter. An embarrassment of riches.
Thank you, kind reader. Enjoy the hours today and take good care of each other.