Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On Being Brave - Part 1

My family gathered over the Easter/Passover weekend. It wasn't my blood family (besides my parents), but rather family by choice; dear friends, my godparents all joined us for a sedar, the ceremony and meal based around the story of the Exodus. For us, it's a night full of poetry, thought, song and good food. 

And there was a point, where my dad looked at me and asked me to read a poem he had chosen. It went like this:

I, Miriam, stand at the sea
And turn
To face the desert
Stretching endless and
My eyes are dazzled
The sky brilliant blue
Sunburnt sands unyielding white.
My hands turn to dove wings.
My arms
For the sky
And I want to sing 
the song rising inside me.
My mouth open
I stop.
Where are the words? 
Where is the melody?
In a moment of panic
My eyes go blind.
Can I take a step 
Without knowing a
Will I falter
Will I fall
Will the ground sink away from under me?
The song still unformed -
How can I sing? 

I started to cry. I wanted to run away, hide my face, but I didn't. I don't know if my dad had chosen it for me to read on purpose, or if it was just my turn cause I hadn't read in a while. 

But be chose aptly, because this poem is about me. It's about how every morning, I face the day, feeling so unsure of whether I will get through anything and come out safely. 

Leaving your job, your home and everything that is familiar to travel has not always been rainbows and flowers that I and probably many others imagine(d) it might be. It is hard work to forge a new path, and there will be many stumbles and falls that last a very long time. I am someone who craves stability and challenge at the same time. These two do not always go together, and the result has been as much uncertainty and fear as wonder, sometimes more.

Before this point in my life, everything tended to fall into place. Now not so much. This is my first time having to really scramble hard for a job. And it's the first time where I'm really having to step into the unknown. It's terrifying...

And so, what to do next?
The poem did not end there. The first part tells one part of my story, and the second part tells another. Here it is clear what must be done:

To take the first step--
To sing a new song--
Is to close one's eyes and dive
into unknown waters.
For a moment knowing nothing risking all--
but then to discover 

The waters are friendly
The ground is firm.
And the song--
the song rises again.
Out of my mouth 
come words lifting the wind.
And I hear
for the first time
the song
that has been in my heart
even to me.

And it's true. Whether I able to recognize it at the depths of my fear or not, the result of doing something which scares me is often not even close to as bad as I imagine it would be. 

What is most important is to begin!

I'm sure I'm not the only person to whom this poem applies, or else it's author, Ruth Sohn, would probably not have written it.
For me it serves as a reminder to keep going, and that in order to happen upon the beauty in this world, one is often required to face some deep and difficult fears. How would I ever know that the unknown waters are friendly, even stunning, if I never tried?


Stay tuned for 'part 2' where I describe some of the ways I challenge myself by diving into unknown waters.

1 comment:

  1. Very moving. I love your authenticity. Thanks for sharing your heart and experience so openly. Keep feeling, keep thinking, keep moving.