Thursday, July 01, 2010
This is the view from Provincetown facing, I believe, Truro, the next town over.
I had forgotten how beautiful it is here, the way "end of the earth" communities have their own unique beauty.
I am quickly remembering the way places like this have a way of attracting artists - along with flocks of zanies and loonies and herds of misfits and the various rebels and castaways of society.
It also attracts the young - and young at heart - who are trying to figure out who they are or what they will become. Or not.
Interestingly enough, these very people are also part of the reason tourists come here - to look and gawk and snap pictures to take back home so they can titter and shake their heads in disbelief or shock or horror with all their friends back home in "Normal, USA."
But, mostly people come here, I think, for the very reason I am here. Because the beauty here is so insanely beautiful it helps you back on the path of sanity.
There is something spiritually medicinal about the way the salt water finds its way into your soul. The way each ocean wave whispers words of comfort and challenge - whether you need to hear it or not. The way every zanie and looney you pass reminds you that it's okay to be you.
And, if it's not okay to be you - who you are where you are - be who you are right now anyway because, as Oscar Wilde used to say, "Everyone else is already taken."
At dinner last night, my dear friends were venting a bit about the challenges and joys of being Inn Keepers in P-town. At one point, one of my friends stopped mid-sentence, looked out the window onto the Bay, pointed and said, "This!"
I looked over to see the still-blazing sun casting pink strips of light on the deep blue ocean while causing the boats to shimmer and shine in mesmerizing display.
After a few moments of this momentary bliss, she commented that when she and her partner first came to P-Town, people who had been here for a long time would stop mid-sentence, look over at the way the light was playing with the ocean and say, "This is why we stay here."
Over the years, that has been shortened to simply, "This!"
I think we all need places in our lives where we can do that. It may be the ocean for you. Perhaps it is a lake or a forest or a mountain. Maybe it's in a museum or an art gallery or under a back alley, inner city street lamp. It might be in the face of a young child or an elderly person or a drag queen or punk kid with purple and orange hair.
Wherever it is for you - whoever it is for you - it is important not only to know that but to acknowledge and appreciate it, at least occasionally.
And not just to stay where you are - where you live - but to stay. Here. In the midst of life with all of its challenges and joys. Keepin' on keepin' on. Fighting the good fight. Living the good life - however that is defined for you.
Stability was one of the Rules of St. Benedict - along with fidelity to the monastic way of life and obedience to leaders in community that flows out of a relationship in Christ.
Stability, wrote Benedict, is the path to contentment and fulfillment which can not be found in constant change.
However, the wisdom of Benedict's Rule lies in its flexibility, its tolerance for individual differences, and its openness to change.
From time to time we need to allow the beauty in the world to break our hearts open to see that even chaos has its own order, its own beauty.
Beauty is all around us, often hiding in plain sight. It's often found in the unexpected, far off the beaten path that leads to "normal".
Sometimes, it takes going somewhere else to open our eyes and our hearts to simply say, "This!"