Sunday, October 12, 2008

Don’t panic

The Prodigal Son

On the boat, if I were on the boat right now, I’d probably be complaining about something. I’d be complaining about the heat, or mosquitoes, or my rolly anchorage, or the smell from the head. Here I have nothing to complain about but myself, my own indolence--there are no mosquitoes, no movement, no awful stink. I find myself wondering often, if it’s true what I’ve been accused of. Am I a person incapable of happiness? Incapable of contentment with myself? Was I even ever happy at my happiest, which I know remember as my halcyon days on Secret?

In some small, circumscribed ways, all my dreams have come true here. I have a basement turned into an exquisite office. Although I have a part-time job, I have almost limitless time to pursue my genuine career goals. I should be ripping off and chewing huge chunks of world-changing prose. Instead, I find myself thinking of all of the things I want instead of this. A bungalow on the beach. A cabin in the woods. A high-rise in the city. Limitless time. Not just enough time, but limitless time. What I want is nothing less than eternity. Nothing less than perfection, of myself and others.

Jesus said it: “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”

It’s another of those passages that used to disturb me immensely as a child, not so much in what it stated, but that no one took it seriously. Yes, it says that, everyone said. But it doesn’t actually mean that. Everyone was always saying that about the Bible. I could read it. I read it beginning to end. I knew what it said, but everyone said it didn’t say what it said. I knew it did.

The thing that rankles the most, like a constant toothache, is the thought of my boat. That’s the most imperfect thing of all. I’ve had a couple of buyers nibble at the bait, but I’m not committed enough to selling to reel them in. When I’m lying awake at night, staring at glow-in-the-dark stars, I contemplate options for returning on my own, the one-way ticket that always pops up in my dreams as the solution to all of my problems.

The problems remain, though. The recalcitrant diesel. The headstay. Solo sailing. Transportation. My dad has the same look in his eyes as I do when he remembers the boat, when we see the pictures pop up on the computer screensaver--a pained expression of loss and longing.

And failure. That’s what it boils down to for me. I didn’t have the expertise the task demanded, and I still don’t, and I failed. How can I have any faith that the rest of my life won’t end up the same way?


martina said...


Dear Melissa,

What is time only limitless? Who created a clock, put pointed arrows on it, gave it a circular shape and a ticking sound? Can we measure it really? In the relative world our bodies’ age, night dawns sunrise and day sets for darkness. Yet in the ultimate existence who dies and who is born?
And what is failure? Who decides? In order for failure to exist there must be success. Who decides what is successful? Aren’t we the authors of our own space and time? A teaspoon of salt in a glass of water tastes much stronger than a teaspoon of salt in a bathtub.
If you close your eyes and asked where is my heart? Where is my mind? Where do I begin? Where do I end? Really asking, deeply looking, who is it that decides success, failure or has a neutral response?
Time is this exact second, now this one and this one…and success is ease. Am I at ease?
Secret is the love affair, the wild and free fling that exposed all possibilities. Secret is the dream. We are the dreamers.
Wonderful space you have created here Melissa. So pleased to have met you on the plane on my way back from Ireland.
With Peace,
Martina (a.k.a Big Sky Heart)

Melissa said...

Dear Martina,

What an exquisite response. So wonderful to hear from you. I hope everything's well--partly because of you, I'm engaging in a more active yoga practice these days.

I'm so pleased to have met you, too, and I'm glad you've popped up again in my life, at exactly the right time. I hope you are at ease. I am, more every day.