Several months ago, I heard a speaker tell this story. He talked about how the Sea of Galilee is teeming with life, one of the most diverse seas in the world. Then he talked about a sea that is close geographically but couldn’t be more different, the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea has no life at all. From what I’ve seen, even the shore is pretty barren. He said the difference between the two is that the Sea of Galilee has an outlet. The water is always moving through and changing. The Sea of Galilee always has somewhere to go.
While I listened to this, my ears pricked. I have been to both seas, and I loved the Dead Sea. I loved that I could see my feet through the clear, salty water. I liked that the air was so thick that I didn’t tan or burn because the silt in the air protected me. I liked how when I got out of the water, it felt like my whole body was covered in baby oil and I could watch the salt crystalize on my skin as I dried. I loved the Dead Sea so much that when I lived in Amman, we would drive the hour down on Friday mornings when the city was sleeping and spend the day at the Sea. I never went to one of the public beaches or the resorts. I didn’t like to pay and I didn’t want to be crowded. We would drive along the coast until we found a quiet spot along the cliffs and could climb down. The beach wasn’t really a beach. The salt rocks would cut my feet before I found some water shoes at a souq, but it was always worth it. It’s still one of my favorite places on Earth, that quiet empty sea.
I hear the point that speaker was trying to make. It’s the same point this society makes all the time. Keep moving or die. If you are walking along the street and stop suddenly just to enjoy that place, you are in the way of everyone else who wants to keep moving and who has somewhere they desperately want to go. If I stayed at one job for ten years without a promotion, I would be a fool even if that was the job I loved. If I owned a successful business, I should be working towards a second or third location.
If I am single, I need to find someone. If I have someone, I should be getting married. If married, I need kids. I don’t know what comes after that. I haven’t gotten far enough to find out.
“Enough,” is a sin. Many spiritual teachings say to be content, but only content with this point along your journey. You cannot say that your journey is over, that right here in this moment you have enough. I’m ready for enough though. I used to live full speed ahead, eating until I was stuffed, working out until I couldn’t stand, staying awake until I fell sick for days, drinking until I couldn’t remember. I never knew how to say, “Enough,” to anything. I hoarded shoes and clothes and every letter and note I received.
Now I’m tired. I’m 23, and I’m tired. We’ve built a lot of things in this world, but as I watch all the lifestock grazing here in the Oregon desert, most of what we’ve built just doesn’t seem worth it. Too much, too bright, too loud.
There’s nothing here but seedling trees and the remains from a fire years ago, but the land is living quietly.