adrift in an endless sea

Posted on March 11, 2007



Written on April 1, 2006. I poured my heart out in this first post. But when I shared it with the person that at that time was my best friend, my wife, she told me not to let anyone see this. It is too dark. You may be rejected or looked down on…

“In the beginning, I was so young and such a stranger to myself, I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be.” (Mary Oliver)

Finally, I took courage and posted my first-written post.


Adrift in an endless sea,

where is the light that was so bright

when I was young?

When I was young . . .

Was life really so simple? so nice? or was I just naïve? a small town facade?

When I was young . . . did life really make sense, or was my consciousness, my connection to the complexities of this life, my awareness still sleeping?

Where is the comfort and security of mom’s arms?
Where is the assurance and consistency of dad’s presence?
Where is the certainty and conviction of the pastor’s words?

Back then . . . life sure was nice.

I gotta let go

The fantasies . . .

The illusions . . .

of the path getting smoother,

of the skies getting brighter,

of my vision getting clearer,

of life making sense.

Life is a great big mystery . . . much, much bigger than my capacity to understand. All I’m left with is questions. Answers? . . . Wouldn’t that be nice.

“There are times when all the world’s asleep, the questions run too deep for such a simple man. Won’t you please tell me what we’ve learned, I know it sounds absurd, please tell who I am.” (Supertramp 1982, lyrics from the Logical Song)

When I was young, life was simple; as long as I didn’t peel back the layers and look beneath the surface.

“Just leave it alone, boy.”

When I was young, my God was in a box; easy to understand, easy to define. He was contained in a Book. When I didn’t understand, I looked Him up in His Holy Dictionary and redefined Him again and again . . . and again, according to my own understanding; boxed up by the limitations of words. I needed Him to make sense and couldn’t stand Him to be a mystery for very long.

I went to college to learn to redefine Him, to redefine life,

because it had to make sense

. . . somehow.

I had to make it . . . fit.

I developed a neat and tidy world and life view—required for graduation (from this fundamentalist college).

It was nice… if only life could have stayed in that box…. I would have been all set, man.

Somebody opened that box, though,

and I think it was me….

Often times, I think I’d like to get back in and close the box behind me.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

But the proverbial cat’s out of the bag,

the milk’s been spilled,

the can of worms has been opened and

. . . this caged bird has flown.

I’m not so young anymore.

Life is painfully stripping away the dross. But where is the gold?

I’ve begun to peal back life’s layers;

“stepping deeper and deeper into the darkness”;*

my shadows,

precious things that I’ve hidden so well,

subconscious things that are locked away,

yet somehow, moving “closer to the light”.*

(*Bruce Cockburn 1994, Lyrics: “Closer to the Light”)

Looking beneath the surface,

stepping outside of the box,

poking my head up out of the foxhole,

I find these things rather dangerous;

especially to “niceness” and comfort and security.

Eyes are opening

Consciousness is awakening

Awareness is increasing

Compassion is acute

There’s so much pain

so much suffering in this world.

My heart hurts all of the time

Water rises to my eyes again and again . . . and again

Life doesn’t make sense

Life isn’t nice . . . as much as I yearn for it to be.

Derailed and desperate
How did I get here?
Hanging from this high wire
By the tatters of my faith

Sometimes a wind comes out of nowhere
And knocks you off your feet
And look, see my tears
They fill the whole night sky
The whole night sky

(Bruce Cockburn 1997, Lyrics: The Whole Night Sky)


In the face of God

In the face of life

What am I left with???

Certainty is gone

But with open hearted, open handed, open minded confidence, I can say I’m left with the force of love.

Without the dross, what is that gold I’m left with?

God (or that something greater than me)

Bigger than my box

Bigger than my words

Bigger than my brain

Greater than my comprehension

Higher than my understanding


Community of my beloved

World of strangers

Bearing the image of God

Striving for transcendence

Seeking truth

In love and in pain


My heart

My many passions

My deep compassion

My burning desire for peace and justice

My daily tears

My tireless mind

My sleepless nights

My neverending questions

My search for understanding and wisdom

My time alone to think . . . reflect . . . meditate . . . pray

Adrift in an endless sea of life and love . . . and mystery.

Ron Irvine

April Fools Day, 2006 (This is what I wrote first, but it took me over a year to get up enough courage to post this on my blog)

Wisdom only begins when we face what we do not know; when we face our ignorance, our limitations, our nothingness, our smallness, our pride . . . and then let go . . .

Again, Bruce Cockburn verbalizes it best in his song “To Fit In My Heart”:

God is too big to fit in a book,

Life and this universe is too big to fit in my brain,

But nothing is too big to fit in my heart.