Friday, June 10, 2011

i've got a lot of things i want to say... it's going to be hard to narrow them all down into one cohesive post, but i suppose i'll try.

i've spent this past week at the beach with my family. i always think a lot at the beach. i think its because my family is one of those families that likes to keep a lot of things the same. so we've essentially enjoyed the same basic beach vacation in the same condo on the same beach since i was 14. living the same week over and over, one time each year, is quite the thought-provoking tradition, as i can consolidate all the past year's changes and growth into my thoughts and feelings and responses and behaviors of this one week and compare it to its past versions.

i was walking down the beach early yesterday morning and talking with God. I found myself thinking that this was the best feeling in the world- communing with my father and best friend- hearing the heart-swelling whispers of His spirit inside me alongside the waves that He created, crashing at my feet.

my mind shifted, as it often does, to my disorder. and i thought that sometimes it felt like the best feeling in the world too. i spent a lot of time attempting to cater to my disorder and my life simultaneously- living ** or so pounds underweight, taking downward dives every so often, only to pull myself out for another few months' until i could stand it no longer and i gave in to the compulsion to dip down into worse danger again. each slip deeper into my disorder was a thrilling sense of rightness with myself and with the world. each lowering heart rate i counted, each grave look on my doctor's face when i was in high school, each walk up to my college dorm my junior year that i wasn't sure i was going to be able to finish gave me a feeling like i was holding a kite and it had suddenly caught wind- i was doing what i loved and i was doing it well. it was the best feeling in the world.

as lovely a feeling as immersion in one's greatest downfall can be, and as unpleasant as life so often is, I began to wonder how it is that anyone ever makes it out of anything. i concluded that the best way to describe the journey to recovery {from anything} is as a realization of how much one loves the thing one is supposed to hate; an admission that there are two "best feelings in the world". the one of them is real and true- it is a summation of all things felt and experienced- it allows and celebrates the feeling of all feelings- it is imperfect and it is human but it is life. the other, though safe and unpainful and avoidant, is a phony, hollow existence that if not death itself, is a direct route to it.

i'd been looking at the houses up the sand banks as i thought. my mind stilled and i shifted my gaze straight down the shoreline. The sun was barely out of the eastern most horizon. It shone low and bright on the morning waves. They were luminescent like molten silver, rising to a bright boil and crashing into the glittering sand. the stacks of distant high rises were a foggy, majestic gray, standing against the sky like a holy city, its only road the silver shore.

i turned and stood with my feet wide apart, facing outward to the endless ocean. to my left was the unearthly beauty of the rising sun on sea- a momentary manifestation of divine promise- what i will forever believe was in some way, a preview of my eternal home. to my right was a beach- it was a watercolor palette of blue and sand with white caps and a brushed blue sky. it was lovely. but compared to the regal sight to my left, to turn and to walk to the right would have been an utter waste.

it isn't often that we're allowed a black-and-white sort of picture of the choices we have in life. many times, we know little more than what's good and what's best, and we're afraid to choose what's best because we only know that the people we admire and God and everyone else think its best, and we're afraid that we'll give up what we know and love, only to find that what was supposed to be better isn't better at all. 

but as i stood there, staring out, turning my head to the left then to the right, i felt i was experiencing the way that many of our choices would look if we were able to see their consequences beforehand. 

but the thing is, we aren't able to see the outcome of our decisions before we make them. to really gain anything in life, (no pun intended) we have to submit ourselves to a measure of risk. we have to risk losing what we think we love, risk feeling what we thought would kill us to feel, risk doing what we thought would destroy us in order to find that for which we were really made to live. 

i suppose what distinguishes one "best feeling in the world" from another is identifying what we really want our lives to mean. i could refuse to eat another bite for the remainder of today, and i could put on my shoes and make my way to the elliptical and i could stay there and let the euphoric numbness mount and it would feel like the best feeling in the world. but i'm not living for numbness and i'm no longer living to be thin, so as good as immersing myself in my disorder may feel, it couldn't possibly be the best feeling in the world, because it is a path completely opposite from the one that i've chosen to take. 

sometimes, it's hard to face life without our downfalls, but it'd be harder to walk their shores knowing somewhere deep down that we were making the mistake of a lifetime.



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