Prayer For Precarious Times


lisa fabrega



I am floating in the middle of the ocean at 1:22 pm on a Thursday.
I am thinking to myself how vast this feels, how this feels like
exactly what I am supposed to be doing in this very moment.
In this state of salty suspension I am brainless.
I am slightly unsettled by this.
My brain is very active.
Especially during a massage.
That’s why I hate massages.
The minute I lie down a million voices inside my head compete
for attention.  An hour later my sinuses have drained into the front of my face, I’m puffy and I’m more stressed out than when I lay down for this massage in the first place.  No thank you.

But here in this watery expanse all that is left is a slight fuzzy staticky sound.  I try to reach for the thought, but it doesn’t come.

I am the waves rocking back and forth.
I am a limitless pool of fish and wet wildlife unseen.
I am the lap of the Mother and I am nothingness itself.
I am exactly where I need to be.

But this is not a fully relaxed state.
I am aware that a small part of me wants to get out of the water.
She wants to be guaranteed safe.  She wants to be in air conditioning and a soft cushy couch, where nothing ever happens.

This is the Pacific ocean.  I can’t see anything.  It is green and murky.
I can’t see what is at my feet.  Or what is coming towards me.
A shark could feasibly be right underneath me.
I imagine what a bite and a tug would feel like and how I would react.
Would it be too late before I was completely under, unconscious?

My feet land on something hard and sharp buried in the sand.
I immediately jerk my feet up.  Was that a shell?  A fish?
A sting ray? Will I be screaming in pain in a few minutes?

I don’t like the unknown of the ocean.
How I can feel it is one of the most powerful things on earth
and you cannot predict how she will use that power, ever.
She is a lovely, wild beast, completely untamed.
A woman unto her own.

I am that woman.
We are that woman.
With crusted bits of salt & dried up pieces of seaweed in her hair.

And this is exactly where I need to be.
Forcing that small part of me to surrender.
To be batted around by the waves.
I am facing away from the sand, towards the grey-green entirety of it all.
Watching the growing waves coming towards me.
Huge waves that, standing on the beach, would completely tower over me and engulf my entire life in one thundering crash.
I watch the massive waves gathering way in the back towards the horizon, I watch them grow and grow as they roll towards me inviting, yet ominous.

I feel the tightening of my stomach as I unravel the part of me that knows anything could happen when that wave gets to me.  And I don’t know what.

I could die.  I could drown.  I could completely let go.

When it finally reaches me, it gently lifts me up and places me back down, but I am never in the same position I was in.  Always I am facing a different direction, my legs twisted in a different configuration, my arms struggling to catch their balance.

Deep calm and wild fear all at once.
And I’m in position for the next one.

There is no one on the beach today.
Yesterday I was in this exact spot and there was a family with 3 children, a husband and wife playing right next to me.
I watched the kids running head first into the huge crashing waves, getting completely beat up, twisted and turned, salt water up their noses and sand inside their bathing suits.  They were screaming with excitement and I laughed and laughed and played just like they did.

But today is different.
Yesterday the ocean was playful and sunny, today she smells different
and isn’t sure if she wants to be menacing or nurturing.

Just like me.

I saw a movie this morning about a woman who has a wonderful life, traveling to some of the most beautiful places on earth.  She reviews hotels and stays in magical places.
She is happy.  She is doing good work.
She wonders what her place is sometimes.

Sometimes she meets interesting men on her travels and she wonders.
Sometimes she thinks it would be lovely to share this experience with someone.
Sometimes she can’t imagine anything better than to be having this experience alone.
Sometimes she is lonely.

Sometimes she wonders if she should have had children.  There is nothing wrong.  There is nothing to fix, she just is.  The movie ends and there is no magical solution, she is just getting on a plane to her next beautiful destination, heading into the vast, oceanic expanse of her life.

Who knows what is next and who will cross her path.  She is just diving into it without pushing herself to be anywhere other than where she is.  She hopes she’s doing it right.

I feel like someone has made a movie about me.

Sometimes on stressful days, it would be nice to fall back into someone’s arms on the couch and make love, surrender to a force larger than my own.

And yet there is so much value to finding within you the strong, reliable part that will be with you no matter what.  And to be able to lean on Her.
No one person will ever give you everything you need.
You are the soul mate you’ve been waiting for.

In my head a poem begins to form and a big wave catches me,
tumbles me upside down into a soundless landscape.

I keep trying to figure out what it is that you need.
I am trying all different angles and nothing seems to be working.
I am giving you my entire heart and you are withdrawn, going through
some deep and dark thing.  Aligning.

At the bottom, with my face pressed against the sand and broken bits of seashells violently batting around my ears while the world is crashing around us underwater, I surrender.

There is nothing to do but this.
When I surface, the next wave hits me and this time, I invite her.
I invite her to pull all of the poison out of me.
Pull all that is not me, away, away, away.

Pull all that encumbers us and makes us small, back into her abyss.
Please, leave us clear, full of stars and tourmaline. Amen.

I say this prayer fervently as my head once again goes underwater
and the next giant wave washes over me.
I say it for myself and for all.

And suddenly I understand how to get out of the ocean.
I move forward towards the sand when the waves push me there.
I stop when she draws back in upon herself and wait.
When the next wave comes, I let her rock me towards the shore.
Little by little until I am finally on all fours, wet, trembling & panting for air on the sand.
Ready to walk.