I did not thank the waves

I did not thank the waves for rolling me back to shore

for that’s what waves do.

I did not thank the waves for rolling me back to shore

for I did not struggle and let it do what it has always done.

No, I did not thank the waves,

I went limp in the water, like a baby in the womb,

I trusted in what is and was rocked back to shore.

 

I did not thank the sun for drying me in its warm embrace

for that’s what the sun does.

I did not thank the sun for its gift of heat and light

for even if I was not on that beach, wet and half-drowned

the sun would still shine as bright as it has always done.

No, I did not thank the sun. I was weak and could not move

and it was my tired body that subjected me to what was always there.

 

I did not thank the beach, the sand, the earth

for being where it was and for taking me in;

I did not thank it at all for having never moved

for I left myself to the mercy of the current and the waves

and came crashing into its warm embrace and it held me there,

and I was breathless but not frightened and alone,

wet with sea water that was evaporating in the heat of the sun.

 

I did not thank any of these but I was thankful.

With every breath I took and in how my muscles strained

as I got up and began to crawl deeper into the land

and away from the swirling ocean and the tide

could you measure the weight of my gratitude.

I did not thank the waves.

I did not thank the sun.

I did not thank the earth, that sandy beach.

I did not thank my trust and my surrender.

 

I did not know that I would find myself out at sea.

Sometimes, your boat capsizes on these journeys

you don’t even know you have begun

but you are on them, and sometimes, it is in the surrender

that one finds the way back to shore,

in the loving embrace of sand and sun

and you are just so happy to be alive

that the only way you know how to give thanks

is to get up, breathe deep, and keep going.

 

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