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In Search of the Depths

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  • In Search of the Depths

    Job, the experts are upon us!
    The knowledgeable ones have come to bless us!

    Gather them around me. It seems strange to them
    that I am an underseeker
    because they cannot dive so deep as me
    because they cannot breathe where the fishes are thunder clouds in a dark sea-sky
    because they do not seek that which is under the surface of the ocean.

    I, an underseeker, dive. I breathe there

    They see it as weakness. Unhealthy dependency upon that water.

    Don't they love the gold I bring?
    Treasure does not satisfy the mind. Their minds go further than the barnacle encrusted jewelry, and are unafraid to dive into
    inexplicable mystery

    because it just so happens they know all about it.

    One of these oracles said I have dementia. That it is this that forces me into the deep
    Another said I'm cursed to be an underseeker, because I didn't pray hard enough.

    A burning hole in my chest, open too wide

    How lucky I am to have them.

    Self-proclaimed experts who stand tall in the village square with their rulers and handouts.

    Let them reveal all to us, since they know so much.
    They are happy to explain. I have taken on, been taken in -
    into a label. The label of “underseeker.”
    None of my pain is real. How good to know it's all in my mind. Thank you, Eddy.
    Elucidate, erudite, how it's my fault, that I've swallowed a wiggling worm on a barbed hook. I only
    have to return to the
    ocean because I think I do.

    They can diagnose me, doctors all of them, with the knowledgeableness of surmise.

    This is where it breaks down. How to revise? What poem can proclaim water brings pain?

    In life, I bring confusion, shock and terror. This underseeker I created cannot speak for me.

    A reflected facade, a false me. A water version of me.

    But as with him, everyone knows better than I what the source of my troubles is.

    Including mental illness, my cold and silent partner in my struggle to re-present.

    The underseeker ate white pita breads fried in butter. These allowed him to remain on land
    for a time. He (let's call him Frank) eventually has to recharge in the ocean. His refuge from the landlubbers and the awful things they say.

    For me, the aberrant behavior is not sounding ocean caves without an oxygen mask. For me it
    is the mania, the depression. I go to extremes.

    My pain is greater than Frank's. He gets on without it, but I need to be understood.

    I work against myself. I can act awfully strange.

    Frank searches for family. His brothers and sister have strayed along the coast, selkies all of them, swimming from village to village, none of them on any map.

    I have family. They are support like a rock or a door. Solid. Not changeable like the
    unquiet waters

    So you see, Frank's just not going to do. Should I start over?

    But I am like him. I'm searching, as well. I am an underseeker of meaning and purpose.

    And the snow drops from the bough. Out goes that fire.

    When all this started, the fire did go out. What's wrong with me? Why do I act this way? How shall I again live? Many years went by before I searched out these questions. It was an intensely overwhelming experience. I've had lots of help. My many teachers have been in front of me.

    I have learned.
    I have learned when you see someone broken, don't make it worse.
    I have learned.
    I have learned the face of your mother is sometimes your best bet.
    I have learned.
    I have learned in the name of Jesus to fix all you can, and leave the rest to Him.
    I have learned.

    And the sea turtles paddle by me with support in their ancient eyes. They have rough faces. They have closed mouths. They do not reduce me to a caricature, as though my diagnosis explains everything there is to know about me.

    I look to God to speak, to restore. Much of the time it has seemed He too wore an oxygen mask. It has been difficult to hear Him speaking through it.

    Leafy plants drift back and forth in the current. They do not expect me to explain.

    Is it good to be distinct? This distinct? Let me live a lifetime. I'll tell you how it worked out.

    The sun rises on the waters. So generous. All the work it takes to share its light and warmth without complaint. This morning I felt it. I can relate to the need to grasp the whole world and all its creatures in your hands. Contain it all in a little glass jar, smelling of jelly and rusty lid screwed on. Bury it where it won't be in the way. Or in order to use it later.

    Undoubtedly Job would commend patience. I can follow that advice. In my greener moments, I believe lasting peace is coming. I've attained some now.

    The leather coral is furry daisy stars that gently enter your soul, brilliant on curving tubes that are transparent and seem to breathe. I relax. I feel their warmth in my stomach.

    While we wait, Frank and I search for the seahorse dragon, the fiery green and yellow hummingbird of the sea. We swim on.