This is not a normal post, but is instead a metaphorical story I wrote a few days ago and figured I’d post it.
What goes on in our heads? Tickles of thought creep through our minds without breaking through the surface most times, simply making ripples and barely breaking through our subconscious. We search the surface as a fisherman looking out at the perfectly placid waters of a beautiful cove at dawn. Glass except for faint ripples where something swims underneath.
We try to understand what happens beneath that beautiful surface, but how can we ever understand what happens when we’re looking from the surface? So how do we get into the water and go for a swim? And what happens if there are sharks?
There are sharks, believe me. They hunt us down and try to overwhelm us with their massive strength. Their fearsome jaws. Their masterful knowledge of the sea. They come in many shapes and sizes. Depression, fear, anger, jealousy, maliciousness. They are conniving and will pull the fisherman’s boat back to shore, will destroy the rudder, will do anything they can to keep the fisherman from control of his own destiny. What must he do then? His boat is no longer his because of these monsters. He must get out and swim with them.
When the fisherman dives into the salty water of tears that fill the mind, he is assaulted by the hundreds of fish that swim under him daily. Fish like love, beautiful visions, the thoughts of his children all grown up, memories of his wife on their honeymoon. He sees those same sharks that have been terrorizing his life are slowly eating up all of the beautiful fish and growing each time they do. He realizes that he absolutely must confront them, and if necessary, be swallowed up because he cannot allow all of these fish to be eaten up. He turns to one of the sharks, jealousy, and swims towards it. He feels the other sharks swimming behind him taking small nibbles off of himself. He keeps swimming towards the shark though, slowly being eaten.
What can he do? There seems to be nothing that he can do because each time he tries to catch one and deal with it, it swims just out of his grasp.
He should give up, shouldn’t he? He is overwhelmed by the size and strength of the sharks. They work like a pack, constantly taking bites out of him. He is frail now, his legs barely work, and his arms ache from the constant abuse of the sharks. Maybe he should have stayed on the boat and simply sat. He’d be safe then. Safe, while these sharks destroyed all of these beautiful fish. All of his beautiful fish. He would be stuck above with nothing but his own breath, and he would surely die then. For without beauty there is nothing.
He finally gives in. He faces as many of them as he can, and stops. He knows that he’ll surely be bit, but he waits. He feels the bite. Feels the ache as the small daggers pierce his already agonized flesh. But he is not as weak as the shark thinks. He reaches behind himself and grabs the shark. Feels its sandpaper skin tearing at his hands. He grabs onto it and faces it. He yells, “Do your worst, but at least face me!” The shark does nothing. It stares at him through blank eyes. The eyes of death. The man still feels the other sharks bite him, but he knows that he at least has this one. Then the shark starts to shrink. It knows that it cannot live on this man anymore. It shrinks and disappears. Many of the fish that made up its food source return. Not all, but many. Many of the bites are miraculously healed. He has found his way.
The sharks are worried now. They still consider him food, but are hesitant to come close enough to bite. It takes days and weeks to catch all of them, but he finally does. In the end, much of his cove is back to the way it was before the sharks, and he is mostly the man he was before. There are scars, many scars, but he is also much stronger than he was.
The next few weeks he goes back out to his safe little cove and swims with these beautiful fish. He dives deep to find all of the fish and know them by name. And one day he sees a shark. It is a small shark, but he knows that if left alone, it will become just as horrible and terrifying as the others were. He quickly tears it apart. He now knows that there will never be an end to this. That he must always guard his cove from the dangerous sharks that come to destroy beauty and himself.