Retreat

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Retreat (v.): To step back, or be forced back. To withdraw.

Retreat (n.): A place or time set aside for reflection and focus.

It’s four months since my Dad died. The opaque darkness which had enveloped me now has contours.

When I was a kid, my parents and I watched a lot of nature shows. National Geographic, Wild Kingdom, Nova, Jacques Cousteau. I remember one program in particular, about life in the deep ocean. Scientists wanted to see what lived in the depths of the ocean trenches. To get down there, they had to descend in a tiny submarine designed to withstand the immense pressure.

Down, down they sank into the frigid darkness where no sunlight penetrated and the pressure could crush skulls. What could possibly survive in such an environment? A wondrous array of creatures, it turns out. Bioluminescent jellies, glowing octopuses, grotesque fish with eyeballs visible in transparent heads.

The scientists captured some of these creatures in pressurized containers for study, but when brought up to the surface, the lack of pressure caused the animals’ delicate bodies to fly apart.

 

 

In this podcast, Christine and I shared our thoughts about how to move through this supremely painful and important moment in American history: the collision of the pandemic with the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer. Each of us must wrestle with our personal losses and fears against this backdrop.

In the episode, I announced that I’m taking a summer break from co-hosting to care for my mom, my family, and myself. (Listen to the episode for details.)

I need to go deep enough to observe what might otherwise fly apart if hauled to the blinding, turbulent surface.

My eyes need time to adjust, and I must trust them to see.

Retreat is prelude to surrender, and what is surrender, if not trust?

Photo credit: Tavis Beck, Amy Humphries

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4 Comments

  • I fully support this radical act of selfcare. We’ll be here when you get back. Love you.

  • Take care of your wee self. You know what you need— I’m glad you’re doing it.

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