Walking under the moonlight, just out of reach of the breaking waves on the beach tonight, I thought of my dad.
I was sitting with my parents on this exact stretch of beach about fifteen years ago when I spontaneously stood up to take a walk. I made it about a thousand feet away until I got the feeling that my dad was watching me with his giant binoculars which, if it was during WWII, were powerful enough to spot non-submerged German U-boats for many miles.
What did I do about this?
Obviously the only thing that made sense to do in that moment. I stuck my fist up on in the air without turning around and sent him a long distance middle finger.
And an hour later when I made it back to the spot where my parents were still sitting, my dad starting laughing and I knew he received my message.
I smiled and he called me a “pisser” in his Brooklyn accent. I felt that memory like it was yesterday.
But those thoughts lead to others which also feel like yesterday. Those next thoughts arose in me quickly, beyond my control, and by the time I could see them coming around the corner of my mind, it was too late. I had no choice but to think them: My dad was really sick and fell in bathroom and I had to bust in and lift him up because he couldn’t stand anymore and we had to call fire rescue and…
No. That’s enough of that. I’m crying now as I type.
But let me just say this…
And I know you’re expecting me to say something about loving your loved ones while you can and don’t take them for granted etc etc, but since you’re probably reading this on social media, I’m going take this opportunity to address social media.
Don’t let Facebook or Instagram or Dicktock make you feel that something is wrong with you if you’re sad. Or lonely. Or unloved. Or broken. Or scarred from the past. Or like you’re not enough.
I assure you, these attention seeking people (although there are good intentioned ones out there as well) who tell you to just choose happiness all the time as if it’s a just some simple decision we’re too thick-headed to see, have never seen a loved one suffer. I mean, to really fucking suffer. And if they have, they’re 50,000 thousand leagues under the sea of denial about it.
So, don’t let them make you feel bad for feeling bad. It can be bad enough as it is. As you know.
Just let yourself feel how you feel. And then maybe, in time, but not too much of it, turn to gratefulness. Or to forgiveness. Or to gentleness. Or to love. Or to silence and stillness. Or all of these in whatever order feels right.
But don’t do this in efforts to be happy. It won’t work. And you can trust me on this because I’ve tried exactly that countless times and it always fails. Always.
Happiness can’t be the goal of gratitude or forgiveness or silence. The goal of gratitude must be gratitude itself. The goal of forgiveness must be forgiveness. The goal of silence is only to be silent.
Because those things toggle you into the present moment where things are usually a bit more okay. And then from there, maybe happiness will slip under the door of your mind on its own accord. But only when the universe is ready for it to do so. And not a moment sooner.
To close this up, I’ll share with you what I’m most grateful for in this right in this second. I deeply know, in every cell of my body and all of the spaces in between, that good is prevailing.
Even with all of the horror I’ve seen, I know fully that good is prevailing.
Please feel free to know this with me.
Manywith their periscopes popping through the surface of the water.