Learning from the Lakes
It's been a long while, friends! I honestly don't have too much going on right now. Some changes at work, seeing friends and family here and there, hanging out with the husband and the dogs. You know, the usual!
I spent this past weekend visiting some friends in Michigan and northern Indiana. I almost cancelled these plans at the last minute because I was feeling so anxious about packing, making the drive, and wondering what they might think of me now that I have to focus on managing my anxiety and depression on a daily basis - I'm not the same person I was when we became friends years ago.
I took a walk along the shore of Lake Michigan with a friend from grad school. And of course, we took her dog with us! We walked until our calves were burning, collecting glass from the beach, feeling the wind hit our faces, and enjoying watching her dog run in and out of the ice cold water. We talked about all sorts of things including family, relationships, dogs (always!), work, keeping up with our houses, and some old memories that we share.
When I wasn't staring straight down at the sand to find my next piece of glass, I was watching the waves crash into the shore. Each wave different than the last, reaching a little further or shorter, never quite sure if I was going to need to jump out of the way so my feet wouldn't get wet.
I recounted my recent trip to Minnesota on the North Shore of Lake Superior and how relaxing the sights and sounds of the waves crashing had been for me. It was a different atmosphere up there - the shore of Lake Superior was lined with rocks instead of sand. But the water behaved just the same. Still crashing against the rocks at a different speed and strength as the wave before.
I thought about how the water shapes those rocks over time and how it erases any footprints or drawings from the sand. Looking out over each lake reminded me of just how big the world is and how small I am. It's not that my life is unimportant or insignificant. But it reminds me that in the grand scheme of things, I'm going to be okay. When something horrible or heartbreaking happens, there will be waves of sadness or anger. But there will also be waves of happiness and healing on the way. These waves eventually wash away most of the hurt while also helping to shape you into a resilient person who is capable of navigating the big and little things in life.
For me, water is such a powerful healing tool. The sounds of trickling or crashing water helps calm me down. It's a perfect soundtrack to fall asleep or read a book. The sight of such large bodies of water like Lake Michigan or Lake Superior reminds me that everything will be okay, even if it doesn't feel okay right now. The feeling of the mist on my face or the cold waves on my feet forces me to live in the present moment and focus on what's important.
I don't know if I'll ever live on the Great Lakes, but I do know that I will probably be making more frequent trips up there to center myself.