I seem to have lost my way and I don’t know why. I’m in what I call my drifting mode. Drifting through my days with no particular direction or destination, I find myself lacking whatever it would take to get myself back on course.
I forget, during these unproductive seasons, just what it was I’d intended to accomplish. I’ve set sail in my little boat on the ocean of confusion without compass, helplessly looking about for some welcoming sign to guide me. Other boats briskly overtake me and I see that all on board look spiffy and hopeful, if not positively full of glee. Wistfulness cuts me to the quick; I can’t help wondering where these other voyagers are going. How do they have such a strong sense of direction and destination when it’s all I can do to keep my little boat afloat, aimlessly drifting?
Restlessness overwhelms me. When will I arrive on dry land? And when I do, what will be waiting there for me? Will there be friendly natives waiting to take me into their homes and hearts or will I be set upon with force, beaten within an inch of my life simply for the crime of not being one of them?
At night my sleep is sporadic and feverish, my dreams senseless. Each new day I awaken to the sinking realization that I am still here on this boat, drifting. By day the sun is bright but deceitfully cold, by night the wind chillingly forbidding. The clothes on my back provide little protection from the elements; I didn’t think to bring extra clothing, not realizing that I would soon be setting sail once more for another tiresome trek by sea.
When I awaken each new day my lips are chapped, throat parched. There is precious little water left in my canteen and I’m in danger of dying of thirst. My voice, when I try it out here in my little boat with the sound of the ocean drowning it out, is croaky and strange to my ears. Now when I see other boats approaching or bypassing, I no longer have the urge to call out for help. Perhaps my brain is fevered and my perceptions off, but I can’t for the life of me imagine trying to describe to another soul just what type of help it is I’m requesting. My life is not in danger. My boat is not leaking. Though chilled to the bone, I’m in no danger (not yet anyway) of freezing. Due to my lack of appetite, my paltry stash of food will last for weeks.
Something within me is withering away; I’m certain it’s not for the lack of a true friend that my soul is shrinking. What do I need with friendship? I’ve become adept, over the decades, at self-sufficiency. I may admire and at times even envy those with many friends, but I can never be one of them. Am I a loner by nature, or did cruel misdeeds to my child’s body and spirit produce in me the preference for my own dubious companionship? No matter. I must be true to my own unique nature, and so I drift aimless and friendless, while waves of panic threaten to wash over me.
Oh, I am so weary of this journey. Was it yesterday I set sail or last week or ten years ago? I can’t recall. I may have kept a diligent account of my dreary adventure in a journal had I thought to bring one. Had I known I was setting sail for unknown territory. And isn’t this what frightens me more than anything, that the destination I seek is foreign territory? That I don’t know what awaits me there, that I’m unacquainted with the language and customs of its natives?
And so I drift. The singsong of the ocean lulls me into a sense of false security. I tell myself this isn’t so bad and others have it far worse and stop being a baby! I chide myself until that becomes tiring, and then with the sun beating down on me and the lapping waves lulling me into something like sleep, I allow my body and mind to relax. There is no more fight in me and sleep is overwhelmingly tempting, my only true friend now.