Saturday, January 25, 2014

To Bait A Fish

"Stay in the present, honey," she said to me before a hug and a kiss and a wave with an "I love you guys" to boot and then she was gone, disappeared into the Hanoi traffic and we were headed back to the hotel. I had woken up that day with an ache in my heart. Not realizing how much I missed my friend but also how long it had been since Mike and I had a third party join us, a person who both knew us, loved us, and reminded us of who are inside this busy, bustling world - something you can lose sight of when changing scenery every three days.
"You always are focused outward," she said. "In New York you were always running from tutoring or some other job and commitment." She was right. "What about just spending time on you, with you. Just spend time asking yourself questions, but really spend the time."
It always boils down to the same question and traveling has made me grateful I have the luxury to ask myself it: What do I want?
I have what I need. I have a loving family and amazing friends and I married Mike. I wanted to travel the world, and I have and I am. I wanted to move to New York and I did, twice. I wanted to marry Mike and I did. But when it comes to the next frontier, my the landscape looks...exactly that. Dot, dot, dot. It's not bleak. It's not even foggy. It's just dot, dot, dot. Is it writing I want? More freelance work? Tutoring? Teaching? Social work? Motherhood? Is it to write a play or complete a book? Is it to volunteer in a field completely different? Is it to move or to return or to stay put?
Sitting in the water puppet theatre in Hanoi, when the lights dimmed, that same feeling returned...Ahhhhhh, the theatre. I wondered what happened to this? How I strayed so far from my first love? How I ended up at 32, ten years away from a world I once was completely consumed with. There was a time when there were no questions, only a goal. There was a time when it all was clear. What happened?
The show was sung in Vietnamese, but it didn't matter. Most of the characters were always chasing after something bigger than themselves. The two dragon fish chasing the bait that was bigger than them, The fisherman chasing the wild fish that pulls him into the water. It is not until the fish catches him by landing on his back that the fisherman is free to go behind the curtains. Is that our nature? To chase after this thing that will always be bigger than what we actually see? To want the big fish, even if it drags us under? Or what if it really is about the thing catching us? You can fish for a long time, but you can't force the catch.
Not sure what I'm saying anymore, and I certainly didn't expect to walk away from a visit with a friend so raw and I really didn't expect to be pondering philosophical life choices after watching a Vietnamese water puppet show. But, that's just it. I guess sometimes the fish catches us.

2 comments:

daleboca said...

touching and true as always. you are full of choices- and that is a gift. so many possibilities!

Carmen said...

and, as always, i agree with daleboca. nice post. many choices! many talents! many things to be grateful for!
miss u