“I had my eyes fixed on him, and I was following the sound of his voice and it was only when I got distracted by the admiring crowd that I lost sight of him.”
By Shekinah Jacob
Every now and then, especially when I have something really important to do, I lapse in to a particular kind of daydream and it goes like this: there’s a sort of calming eastern-western fusion music playing in the background, the background colours are a classic sepia tone, the wind blows gently over the seductively blue water, and there in the centre of the picture is me–walking on the water. Hair blown helpfully by the wind in the right direction so it looks voluminous and satin smooth, chin held at an elegant angle, and manicured feet staying perfectly dry as I catwalk on the water.
I gaze into the distance with a saintly smile on my lips, as I multi-task without skipping a beat. Supermom, wondrous wife, fantastic friend, purposeful writer, and all this while I’m remaining totally calm and cool. Service with a smile. There is only one problem with this daydream, though.
Just when it gets to this climactic poetic part, the saintly smile turns into a smirk, the water gives way, and I fall over with a hugely unbecoming splash and a shriek, right into the deep blue sea. Sometimes head first, so the hair is ruined right away. Arms flailing, mouth eloquent in a rather unwomanly way, and usually in full view of the same audience that was present at the beginning of this daydream.
“Why God?” is what I’m saying (when my mouth is not full of water).
“Can’t you see that I have the best intentions, everything I do is for You anyway. I’m the good girl, remember? Then why are my kids falling sick just when I have so much to do? Why is the mind so blank and the fingers so paralysed just when I have an important deadline? Why do I have to have a huge argument with my husband just before I have a meeting? Why does the cake not rise, why are the cookies crumbling, why is the plumbing collapsing? Why does my son lose his shoe laces every alternate day and more importantly, why do we discover this only a few minutes before he has to leave for school? Why is it that when I have the profoundest thought ever and I need to put it down while I’m still under its spell, my daughter needs me to hunt down her favourite teddy bear at the exact same time?’ The promise of a perfect moment, a fairytale ending so tantalisingly close, and yet just out of arms reach.
The bubble bursts, the music stops, and the heroine falls. Headfirst, with a loud splash.
The important thing to note here in this drama is that when I come up again for air, squint-eyed and spluttering, I’m looking for someone. I search the surface of the water, because I suddenly remember that, in fact, I was not the centre of the scene. I was walking towards someone, actually. I had my eyes fixed on him, and I was following the sound of his voice and it was only when I got distracted by the admiring crowd that I lost sight of him. And that’s when I fell.
Being wet and cold does wonders for the brain. Wakes it up, like a shot of caffeine.
It helps me remember that the One who called me said he would stick around till I got to the other shore. He said he would love me even if I took a really long time getting there. And he said that yes, it was pure magic, what a mere human being could do if the almighty God empowered her, but she was never to forget that it had nothing to do with her. It was magic, pure magic. Grace.
And so I choose to stand up straight, shake off the water. I lock my gaze into his. The water holds. I begin walking. Again. For when it boils down to a choice between gliding on water or stomping around in safe boring circles on terra firma, give me the water any day. I prefer to have the freedom to do the impossible.
And whatever else I don’t know, I know that this freedom is only possible when you’re staring into the eyes of an infinite, omnipotent God. But before I set off, I’ll lose the gown-cum-tiara and take a moment to get into a swimsuit. Just in case, you know, I forget to stare …
Shekinah is a drama queen who lives in Chennai, India, with her knight (not always in shining armour because it tends to get too hot to wear metal clothing) and their two toddlers who make her laugh, and love her on bad hair days. Her idea of heaven is coffee, a good conversation, and cupcakes with zero calories. She likes writing about her family because it’s a good way to preserve the memories, and more enjoyable than taking photographs.
Main image by Charlotte Morrall