There was a song I loved in college that had that lyric in it. “Let Go” by Frou Frou. It says “So let go, just let go. Well, whatcha waiting for? Just jump in, because there’s beauty in the breakdown.” I always liked the song (it’s got a great vibe, give it a listen) but the lyrics have some truth in them.
Today I found myself staring at some rocks (Gee, Dani, don’t quit that day job). Thoughtfully looking at river rocks, smooth and dark and cool to the touch. And I started thinking about the concept of erosion. It’s an active word that implies destruction, deletion, destroy over a period of time. Even saying erosion causes an abrasive scrape of your tongue against the roof of your mouth. It’s course and harsh and I think of mountains cut in half over hundreds of years. The idea that you have something, solid and present, and after enough time goes by, it can be carved into something else altogether. But what if we don’t focus on what’s been deleted or destroyed? What if we focus on the smoothness left behind. Something beautiful and better than it was originally. And then I thought about me. You. Us, all of everyone. How the very act of living is to change and take new form. I thought about me as a teenager, and what I would say if I could re-visit myself then, at 15, or 17.
I might say:
Okay, you really aren’t fooling anyone with whatever this mess is that you’re wearing, but go right ahead. I know it makes you feel important.
Don’t throw all of those pictures away, even if the memories of them aren’t relevant anymore or you think you look fat.
Call your Dad. Parents don’t live forever. Make amends.
Stop drinking diet drinks- that’s what’s causing your migraines.
Invest in Apple. That white chunky ipod your rich friend has is literally a golden ticket.
Pick another major- psychology won’t really pay the bills unless you become a dang Dr.
Stop looking around. Start looking within.
Don’t worry about all those girls at school. One day, you all get on the same level and no one remembers the past.
Listen to the classic rock station with your Stepdad. It’s way better music, and like I said, parents don’t live forever.
You aren’t what you wear or what you have. You are how you treat others and what you give.
Do not get into that car with those friends in December. You’re better than that.
I’m nearly 31, and have an easy time looking back over the last decade and a half and marveling at the erosion that’s taken place in my life. And how thankful I am for it. I can remember being so sensitive and unsure of who I was or wanted to be. Would I ever even get there, and if I did, would I know it? Like a kite in the wind; erratic and flittering wherever the strongest gusts suggests. And at the time, I would boast of how colorful and bright my pattern was, or how long my kite tail dragged, but still a kite in the wind all the same.
I can honestly say that finally, I’m the happiest I have ever been in my own skin. I can connect with other humans in meaningful ways. I am nurtured by a loving husband and friend, and I have developed deep rooted friendships with people who have deeply rooted identities themselves. I love the shell I walk around in. I know it’s just a shell, and my eternal identity is something much more important, but it’s still an important piece of my earthly self that I’m finally accepting of in totality. It’s not brittle anymore, no longer translucent or chipped. It’s strong and well built, shaped and shaded in by all of the goodness that has washed over me by God’s grace and the grace of others. I love every tattoo I have and every tattoo I don’t yet have. I love my nose ring and my only regret was waiting so long to get it. I love having my hair cut to my shoulders and I love that I could care less about wearing make up but am really into lipsticks (for whatever reason) these days.
Erosion has cut away my insecurities and smoothed my pointy spots (well, most of them, I can still be pointy sometimes, let’s be honest). It’s slowly and deliberately worn away the baggage I carried through adolescence and reshaped my mind and the emotions born from it. I think about John’s gospel of the fruit and the vine, and how all of these concepts are overlaid with one another and how bright the Truth in all of it is. Whatever branches do not bear fruit must be discarded with, so that new vines may grow and flourish. Use the old dead branches to build a fire, warm the soil, and let the new vines sprout and grow into the fruit you will share with others.
A river cuts through rock, not because of it’s power, but because of it’s persistence. Keep persisting in the direction you want to go. Whatcha waiting for?