Monday, July 07, 2008

Learning to Float


Sometimes there is a little ball of fear hiding deep down inside my chest. Those wily “what-ifs” come sneaking around like jackals sniffing a foul feast. I have to will myself to turn away, stop my ears up, and run in the opposite direction. “Resist and FLEE.”

Projections into the future are forbidden territory. There are times when the only thing you can do is the right thing. Living in the day at a time....just floating. That is how it must be now. Attempting to live any other way produces unbearable stress. There is a peace that comes from the freedom of fewer choices. Too many choices have always done me in. The grocery store is a nightmare; Walmart is the 6th circle of Hell. But now simplicity is not a choice, it is the only possible condition of existence. A rhythmic pattern must be established within the chaos of uncertainties.

And so I try to establish my little rituals of comfort and familiarity, attempting to redefine ‘home.’ But I am reminded that “the Son of Man had no place to lay his head.”

Just days after the AVM rupture, Sherry, one of Katherine’s agents, send me a copy of the print from one of her modeling jobs. The shoot was for a book cover. A confident-looking blonde with cool shades is at the wheel of a shiny convertible, hair blowing in the wind, a big black lab hanging over her shoulder. The slight grin on her face indicates that she is a woman who knows exactly where she’s going as she cruises out into a world of beautiful blue skies. The name of the book is Learning to Float (a woman, a dog, and just enough men.) Boy did we get a laugh out of that one...Katherine is not a dog person, and has always thought one man was plenty. Although it might seem a little strange to have received something funny like that at the time I did, I thought it was perfect on many levels. Katherine will be that confident, smiling woman again one day. She is on a journey. Blue skies will return. And we will all learn to float.

A year and a half ago, I had a unique experience which I am only now beginning to understand. It was a time of intense pain. I was praying with my former pastor’s wife, when we both began having the same visualization. It had started with me. In my mind, I saw an old ship floundering in a storm, being ripped apart as it crashed on the rocks. The words “Abandon the ship” came to me. That scared me. I didn’t want to jump into the dark, cold waters. These words were impressed upon my spirit: “Jump in. I will not let you go under. Just float. I am the living water. Immerse yourself in me.” By this time, Sandy said “Kim, I feel as if I’m floating in an ocean.” We began describing what we were sensing in prayer to each other, entering into the experience together. We both felt ourselves relinquishing control as we ceased our struggling in the sea. We just floated there in the gentle waves of God’s presence. At the same moment, we sensed the sun coming out, warm and bright, sparkling on the dancing water. Words floated down to us: “Do not be afraid. Storms and floods may come. Don’t fight and flail. Let go. Float with your face turned up towards the Sun of righteousness. There is healing in my wings. Waters that seem as if they will drown you are for your healing. Come into the healing waters.” Waves of love flowed over us and kept us safely buoyed on the surface. We were being held. We rested.

Then we both seemed to be moving. We were lovingly carried along by a strong but gentle current. A vague questioning entered my mind. These words came to my friend and me: “The waves are carrying you to far-away places, places you’ve never been before. But don’t be afraid. It is at my direction.”

God, help me really learn to float.

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