There are few places you can go and be yourself these days. I've been avoiding one in particular for quite awhile.
It's watched me countless times as I've tried to weave my way through life; navigating the ups and downs as a little girl to a grown woman. It's my safe haven, my refuge from a bitter and relentless world.
It's also the place that knows me best, which is why I've been avoiding it.
I've continued to build a steady stream of walls around myself these days. Each wall thicker and higher than the one before and each bringing more misery in its stead. It's a feeling that deprives you of life - of living and breathing. One that measures moments by minutes and seconds instead of breaths and memories.
It's a soul-sucking, hope-deadening experience.
And yet, I'm doing it to myself. I know it. I feel it. I feel as though there's no stopping these waves of self-inflicted torment that I've cast upon myself. I've wound myself up into a tight ball of unrelenting despair and watched it destroy everything in its place. Myself included.
So, tonight I went back. I needed to be there more now than at any other time in my life.
I stood there... unsure of myself. As though the dirt and grass were foreign to me and the water and sun with it. I saw flashes of younger Sophie's sprawled out in various positions. Sophie's who cried their hearts out, who vented torrents of angry words to the water's waves and sat and talked to God in times when she needed to feel close to him.
It took a few minutes, but as I watched the sun slowly sink behind the islands, I felt its magic at work. It carefully began to break down my pretenses and peel away the layers I had formed around myself as a means of protection.
I watched as the waves crashed against one another and felt the wet spray hit my nose and mouth. I felt the wind rush around me in an effort to be heard, rustling everything in its wake, with the leaves dancing in response. I reveled in the sun's enormity and its ability to bring warmth and happiness with merely its presence. I watched the light glint back and forth on the water as it reflected snatches of the dark depths below. I breathed deeply and smelled its familiar scent - a scent that instantly creates a thousand memories of life by the water.
And as I stood there I realized why I hadn't returned to this spot in such a long time. It's a place where God likes to meet me - more so than any other dwelling on earth. He's sneaky like that. He created me with a deep love for nature with all of its wonderment and spells, sounds and smells. He knew I couldn't resist a peek at the view from the spot where my world was always righted when I felt wronged.
And so I bumped into God again in this familiar place.
He likes to show me simple truths from time to time. I like to think of them as locks and keys. Every time a simple truth is made astoundingly clear by a little nudge from him, I hear the key turn and click in place.
I stood there taking in the sun and thinking of how we always say the sun is setting. As if it's going away of its own accord. The sun has decided to go down, from our perspective, and so the sun is always coming and going. It always decides to rise and set.
But we know the reality is that the sun is constant. It doesn't move. In fact, it's us that does all the moving. Earth spins its course and turns its back. Yet, we see the sun as the one to leave us, as though our actions have nothing to do with it.
And so it is with God. A constant, unmoving entity that doesn't come and go. One that watches as we consistently turn our backs, return and turn our backs again. Watching with patience as we come to him, realizing how much we need him at times, only to think better of it later. Thinking as though we're not in need of his light; yet, without his presence, we'd be living in darkness forever.
I realized then and there that this was the reason I'd been avoiding this spot. This magical place full of little secrets and treasures whispered out to me across the waters, through the trees and in the air. A place where I am shown my true being and purpose despite the tricks and expectations of the world around me. A place where I go in as a lost soul and come out feeling a little more complete.