Life is an ocean, and people come and go like the tide.
They drift in, and they drift out again.
Whether on gentle waters or riding storm after next storm, the shape of our lives and our relationships can be measured by the swells and the currents of the people we meet along the way.
The smallest of the waves, leave no impression at all.
They tug for a moment, and shift the sands of our emotions and our minds. But all too quickly they disappear. Footsteps are covered, and the beach is as smooth as before we felt the gentle pull on our ankles.
They become the wistful moments. Ones that we look back at with reflective fondness, remembering how the waves lapped at our feet for a few joyful moments.
But as the smallest are momentary, the largest can be the opposite.
They can cause destruction that lasts for years. They can menace and crash, pounding and changing us, without permission and with relentless force.
They can become the triggers of fear. They can become the patterns we dread.
The push and pull of the tide becomes the people we know, and we begin to recognise what the wave might be, before it arrives. The anticipation of a warm breeze, or the sting of salty air, gives us a clue to the impression that someone may make on our lives.
We feel the familiar wind rising, or the air changing, and we retreat. We seek shelter, wherever shelter may be. We learn, but we learn to avoid them rather than embrace the moment on everything but our strongest days.
And there are many in between. Some we may wish to stay awhile.
When the weather suits our mood, and the weather brings with it a tide that ebbs and flows at the right moment, in the right way, it can help us through a difficult moment or a difficult season.
It can be what we need, and what we need right now.
But then the weather changes, and we need the tide to change too.
The waves retreat, and become just another part of the people we know, and those we knew.
And then, there are the special ones. The tides that surprise us.
An unpredictable surge. A sudden and beautiful crest where there was not one before. A shape that moves us. They may be large but they do not send us running.
They inspire and stir us. They always have. From artists to musicians. The loved and the heartbroken. They turn our heads. They are dangerously beautiful, and yet we know they will not hurt us.
And the difference?
It is the difference between those we know, and those we understand.
Those we allow to understand us are the special ones. Where there is no choice but to let them look inside us. No choice but to give them our whole selves. No choice but to give in to their desire to understand us, because of our need to understand them.
In the stillness of moments together, how do we tell them apart?
The people we know, even those who arrive at just the right time, are wonderful. But once they retreat it is hard to remember more than the shape of a crest, or the tingle of a momentary touch of water on skin.
Those we understand, touch our soul like only the most wonderful of oceans can do. They make us want to run into the water, and become one.
They are uncontrollable and beautiful and intoxicating and suffocating all at once, because that is how forces of nature can be.
And once they are in our lives, we cannot understand how it was before. We cannot remember a time without their imprint. We hope as they roll into shore that they will never break. That they will never retreat. We tingle at their touch, at once not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
When you find those tides, run towards them. Life is short, and the good tides don’t come along that often .Dive in. Go surfing. Forget yourself, even if you feel you shouldn’t and even if it is just for a moment.
Because when those tides leave, they take a piece of you with them. And you won’t feel complete until, or unless, they return.