The sailor towered over her and dropped his duffel bag to the ground. It landed next to her feet with a thud that startled her. He was as tall as the Lone Sailor that stood gazing over the San Francisco Bay. She had always wondered about him, about the feelings and thoughts that lay trapped in that life-size bronze statue. What was he thinking as his sculptor hammered that last piece of metal into place and the handsome fellow was finally finished, a man having his last view of the American West coast as he sails out for duty at sea?
The statue had always evoked so much in her, even as this strange sailor now did. Love – Desire – Wonder – Nostalgia. Or maybe it was all of them finely rolled into one.
“Hello. I am supposed to take you to the hotel,” she said unsure of the tremor in her voice.
The sailor grabbed her into his arms and laughed. A big, boisterous laugh that rumbled and rumbled, warm and defined. He was smelling the familiar smell of the city that came wafting across the bay to the dock. The smell of seawater interlaced with the smell of people, life. He was smelling her – her scent of coconut and shea. Everything together smelt so good. And the only thing he could do was laugh until the tears collected at the corners of his eyes.
“It’s so good to be home”, he said choking on the words.
He held her tighter to him, forgetting that she was a stranger. She let him hold her. She sensed he needed it. She needed it. To be held. Like this. Like there was nothing else more important in the world. Just here, with the Pacific Ocean as the only witness to the nakedness of the human souls that beat inside of two people.
He released her and stepped back.
“I’m sorry…I got lost at sea…it’s just good to be home…I shouldn’t have…” he stopped and met her eyes, hesitantly this time. The brown freckles in her eyes picked apart everything in him and he stood there exposed. This woman knew something about him he didn’t.
His chest expanded in all directions as it grabbed all the air outside within its reach.
“Thank you for finding me, Mrs, Miss?”
“Miss,” she supplied helpfully following his thoughts.
She smiled shyly and offered him her hand. He took it and as his fingers closed around hers, she felt his unspoken words rumbling through him.
“I’m found…I’m found…”
The girl gets lost all the time. It is a thing she knows so well about herself that the day arrived when she packed away the nervousness that used to accompany the missed directions or the stalling of her limbs at road signs, building addresses and street corners. She settled within herself to know that getting lost was not always a sign of lack.
Sometimes I am that girl. I don’t know where I am going. I wake up with fog in my head and it’s hard to see the path. Then I start looking for compasses and things so they can point out a clear direction. 70° N 37° E
But life is often not like that. The clearest path can be the one that sits underneath another. And walking from north to east will take faith. Faith. A needle-less compass that yet never fails to lead you home. How does one use faith as a compass? I wish there were exact words that could hold together to fully explain the how.
And maybe it is as simple as living by it. To know and to simply do that which is right and true. To follow the small and big points the compass points to:
Some things are un-necessary to say when we are angry. We will only regret them.
Love is to be free of hypocrisy. When it is the real kind, it will push back on all that defiles it.
Being nice to others is an art that says something about you. It is not weakness.
Forgiveness must sit at the high table of all relationships. Humans will always, always fail one another. The test is how to love each other in spite of all the weaknesses soaked in our skin.
Words are powerful – they can build and they can destroy. It matters how we use them.
Suffering doesn’t always mean we are being punished. Sometimes it is the only way God gets our attention. This is the hardest lesson we will ever learn.
How we treat others always comes back to us. Always.
Life is more. It is more than the sum of our understanding of it. It is more. This fact should fill us with awe and bring us down to our knees with gratitude.
And when all is said and done, what will matter is what kind of human beings we were.
Sometimes the girl gets lost because she was going the wrong way or took the wrong turn. I find her sitting on a rock, unravelled and unsure about how she arrived at this point. We trace the steps back to the beginning together, looking for the lessons. We cry together and cast off burdens together. She clutches my hands with a desperation that is beautiful and breathtaking.
“You found me…I’m found,” she says.
“We all get found. It’s a beautiful thing to be found,” I say.