Salt water burns

June 24 2016

Another wave crashes down. Under a tumbling wave the salt water fizzles and burns every pore. Full panic. My legs kick and kick and in the darkness I can only hope I’m going up towards oxygen.

My lungs ache a little. They get acclimated. They recover from the depths. I’m a little confused, abruptly moving from chaos into safety. Even though my body is still trembling under the water, the sun shines my hair and warms my cheeks above the water. My lungs are full and it makes me smile.

I feel this often. After exams; after moving from one home to another; one country to another; after leaving graduation as a post-grad but entering into another kind of grad. I wave to my friends with jobs who live in independence where they put hours into projects like CommuniGift. They utterly live for someone else. They are committed to goodness that they haven’t seen but absolutely see. Vision for the not-yet is faith.

But even in the mundane I’m still working from faith. Even in my walk to the one place I can go to start my day and think clearly at 6am every morning in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is consistently open and has free 4-hours of wifi with the purchase of an overpriced espresso that makes me bitter. But the air conditioning, oh, the air conditioning. I’ve realized it is the real secret ingredient to S-V-O… not all-nighters or office hours or memorization. The first time I sipped the coffee, tears fell from my face. For so many reasons, it this place is my only option.

Faith is freeing when it is not dependent on me. With floating steps I can walk there. Every day I start burdened trying to lead a team and change their complaints to positivity. I feel the pressure of trying to make every day a memorable experience that will make them say It was worth it after 51 days in a place where we are asked to walk through the conversations with people who don’t know the speech sounds a, and, and the have meaning. But in that coffeeshop I sit on the mats on the floor, bruising my tailbone further, feeling my legs prickle as my circulation becomes more limited, and I change. Over truth, Burden and Pressure and Weight become Light and Free and I float like the butterflies at 6am.

And even though it sounds cheesy, it is true, love is the common denominator and the truth that changes people from the inside out. And evil and hatred and shootings and shame exists in any pocket of this planet but love is deeper still. I’ve seen it change a calloused soul. One carrying the guilt of death. One so scared of her own thoughts and words. One who is so determined to make up for herself that she was too tired to live. Little by little, she is still changing.

But the faith in someone else who lived for her brought her to rest. To joy. To Chiang Mai to tell friends about love that changes people and never ends, like an infinite fountain that sends waves to crash down on the earth. Though I can’t always see it, sometimes blinded by the wave itself, the fountain changes color from red like scarlet to white as snow. It’s changed me from red like scarlet to white as snow.

Erin Rolandelli
[email protected]
Chiang Mai, Thailand

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