One of my favourite words in the English dictionary is ‘horizon.’ Apart from it striking as an intrinsically beautiful and graceful word, it sounds like a warm, safe place to run into. A fortress.
At the thought of ‘horizon,’ I like to imagine sitting at the shore of an ocean, supporting myself with my hands at the back, eyes wide open gazing at this awesomeness that is water, and looking into the far distant where the sky appears to be kissing the ocean. The ocean has a curious relationship with the sky, I think, how else can two things be so far apart and still together? I cannot see what is happening between them, but they seem to be at peace.
I also like to imagine two lovers walking, each step showing security and confidence in their love for each other. They are holding hands and laughing as they walk on, then they stand for some minutes to watch the burnt orange ball as it slowly declines behind the horizon. Then they walk on, still holding hands.
Like the lovers, there is something about the oceans that stir memories. Memories of taking long walks, communicating, and sharing jokes with God; memories of having the feeling of being in a safe, warm place; memories of holding hands with someone to agree in prayer for something; memories of scurrying to church because you don’t want to be late. They are all distant memories now.
It is quiet in the distant, but on this side, all the ocean does is swirl and ebb this way and that way, growing, threatening, changing direction as it pleases, and finally slowly coming to meet the shore. It’s beautiful, the view, watching how the sands never tire to receive the water each time it grows big and stubborn and leaves. When it comes back, the shore embraces it. The shore always embraces it.
It’s like forgetting the words to your favourite song
You can’t believe it, you were always singing along
It was so easy and the words so sweet
You can’t remember you tried to move your feet
I woke up this morning with this lyrics from Regina Spektor’s Eet in my head, and in those words, I saw myself. How can something you desperately wish to remember be so inaccessible? How can something you love slowly slip away from you? What can you do to some memories?
I think of forever in the manner with which the water keeps coming to the shore. I think of forever as far as my eyes can see when I look at the way the sky and the sea appear to be in a lifelong romance. I think of forever even though it’s infinite and my mind cannot even comprehend it. I try.
There are many things in the universe that outlive us: the sky, the sea, the stars, for example. The creator too, the one who put eternity in every man.
There was a time I would just partake in those activities like everyone else, but even then, there had always been a sort of disturbance in me. I always felt there was something more. And gradually, my curious mind began to take me beyond the busyness and happenings. I thought I had a personal relationship with God, I thought I heard him speak to me several times, so how did I arrive here with all these doubts and questions? I need to understand, to see, to know. I need to know for myself. Over the years, I have had periods of oscillating faith. I have struggled with the certainty of God’s existence. A part of me wants to search, to know the truth, to know I’m in all the way and not just continue doing those things that have now become distant memories; and there’s a part of me that doesn’t care much any longer. Or that doesn’t want to care.
But despite the doubts, there is one thing I still hold on to: God loves me relentlessly. I just can’t let that go. It doesn’t matter how far I get carried away by waves, going this way and that way, he will be there, like the shore, waiting to receive me. Waiting to embrace me.
But how can one believe in, and persistently hold on to the love of someone whose existence one doubts?
Another word for ‘horizon’ is ‘skyline,’ also an enchanting word, not just as beautiful. Horizon. Horizon. Close your eyes for five seconds and keep pronouncing that word slowly. Horizon. There’s a gentle bliss the z brings to me. The Skyline is the apparent line that separates earth from sky, the line that divides all visible directions into two categories. Two categories. You are either the ocean/earth or the sky. I sometimes wonder the possibility of standing on/in the skyline, neither on earth nor in the sky. Is there no space there? None at all? Surely, there should be, albeit small. I don’t mind at all. My body can fit in, it’s small. Is there no room for my body there?
Because on the line is where I am right now, until I allow myself to fully belong somewhere. Once again.