Fri 4 Feb 2011
When I was a young boy, one of the places I loved to browse were stores with aquarium supplies. They always had these cool knick-knacks you could put in your aquarium, from pirate treasure chests that bubbled to giant cliff sides with lots of hiding places for fish.
One time my folks bought me one half of a shipwreck set. The set was of a sea galley in two pieces, presumably cracked in two because of a fire, an explosion, a pirate attack, or just hitting the rocks. It could be any or even all of those!
I wanted the complete set, but my folks didn’t have enough money. I went for the front half, with it’s detailed but fragile anchors and broken masts. Assuming you set it up in an aquarium, a lifeboat flipped up when bubbles from an air hose collected underneath. The figurehead was a gold, bare-breasted upper torso of a female figure.
I can remember the time as if it were yesterday. The aquarium shop by the seaside, near the fish market. The greedy unwrapping of my new toy, to be set in with my group of undersea toys and prizes. Deep sea diving was a meditation I learned young.
Years passed, and the ship began to break apart and lose pieces of detail work. One day I pulled the superstructure apart and broke the parts into smaller pieces. That was the end of the toy. But I kept one small piece—the figurehead, her breasts bare and her elbows pulled back as if she were thrusting forward into the waves. She resided in The Box, waiting.
When I was a young man, my heart was broken and the life I thought I would live turned out to be a total failure. Broken, lost, dazed; I wandered until the movie Titanic came out. There on the temple screen of the last days of popular movie going, I connected with an experience that spoke to me of the failure of my life.
Down into the depths and broken in two, a mystery unknown stored within her submerged halls for all time. Davy Jones triumphant, and I alone carried on to tell the tale if ever I regained some modicum of wit.
Yet the dreaming, yearning hope of what nothing remained moved me on. Marking and remarking my tread with the scent of bitter tears until the voice of the unexplainable made itself known to me.
Failure is exploration, it said.
No longer a young man, I awoke, the gold of salvation on my hands and a numbing frost melting into my lips. With the aching hunch of a starved prisoner I shrugged off rusted chains and stood up out of a cairn of stone suitable only for the dead.
A provident vision of a broken ship in two pieces from my youngest days, but the temptation is to turn away—imagining it childishness to desire what is so easily within one’s grasp now. And a little fear, of losing again and of falling down back into the darkness. To believe with one’s own eyes, yet to cringe away for uncertainty in one’s own worthiness. Still longing, I convinced myself it is enough to see; this shall sustain me.
I had work to do, and with the talent of deep sea diving did what was meant to be done, rightly so. These responsibilities I approached and accepted despite the lack of confidence, for if not I then who? My ears might be inadequate, yet still I hear and listen.
Again, the vision, reduced price in a different place. With signs from the intuition speaking loud and clear. To shake off my last hesitation and accept is like lifting a mountain, moved.
This is my soul, my life, broken in pieces yet now whole and together as a secret treasure of the deep. Where mysteries are found and solved. Washed up on the shores of my being for me to behold and consider.
The Titanic is razed, and raised, rebuilt as miracles of inner healing take place. My bruises are made clear; my dirty clothes wiped clean and my cuts sealed over with the softest of care. What was unmendable has been renewed.
K and I meditate on this strange wonder.