How are you? So simple a question, yet is it ever asked seeking the real answer? Of course one is told it's socially acceptable to answer, "I'm Fine", "Okay", or "Great". Anything more than one or two words is seemingly excessive. What if someone broke the mold and replied they're not okay? We are told to be "okay" or make it seem so. Yet who in this world actually has it all figured out? Perhaps we need to carve space for authenticity; to allow the unokayness of ourselves to permeate, to become real, and eventually to make us whole.
Getting ready to roast marshmallows with a group of students the other evening, I took a moment to sneak off and catch the sun become one with the blueish gray of the Pacific. Sunset is often the time I feel the most joy, the harsh light leaves to make way for purple, orange shadows that subdue colors and cast a softening hue. I love this time of day. When the sun sinks below the horizon, I imagine the next set of people who get to watch the sunset. It is as if we pass the sun on; sending it miles away to allow others their revelry, yet always with the faith it will come around the next day and we'll get to do the whole thing over again.
As subdued tones fade to deep indigo the orange glow on the horizon completely disappears to a black sky. Recently, I had the opportunity to stand, freezing cold, in a field with my head tilted back and gaze upon innumerable stars. I was also able to view star clusters light years away through a telescope. The lens offered me a chance to look back in time thousands of years to light that had long ago flickered and yet was only now reaching our eyes. What did it look like now I wondered? Was it even more spectacular?
Yet the light from the stars is invisible to the human eye when the sun shines. We have to let it go. We have to pass it along to others in order to have the stars, much like the stars must one by one fade away into a lightening sky so they may fill another dark night. It's change you see. It is relinquishing the incredible that makes your heart pound for the spectacular that takes your breath away. This is the unokayness.
The sun for the stars and vice versa. However, with that comes frustration of knowing, of being, of doing like there is nothing else in the moment. It's loving the dipping orange ball, the green flash, the darkening of the sky, the blanket of stars, the light on the Eastern horizon; every bit of it. I want to know, to be, to do with certainty-faith that it's good right now and will continue to be so, much like I do on my evening runs. I know how many times I have to wrap my elastic around my ponytail to keep it from falling. I know the tingling in my right big toe and have come to expect it. I know how to micro-adjust my shoulders in order to allow my lungs more air. I know my body senses the last half mile and my feet rotate faster on their own accord. I want nothing else but all that is that hour. This sureness and presence is what I crave.
To desire nothing else but what's given. To delight in whatever light there is. To breathe hard and have that breath taken away.
But first I must pass on the sun.