The Merman Stump
About a year ago, my wife read Sue Monk Kidd's The Mermaid Chair. She really enjoyed it and felt like I would too. I checked it out on one of those 7-day limit bestseller deals at the library. Seven days came and went without ever sitting in the mermaid chair. However, I saw it at the library the other day and thought I'd give it another shot - no 7-day limit on me this time. I was a little put off at first - I kept thinking, "God, I could write this." But then I realized that no, I'm not sure I could write this, at least not right now. Kidd's book is fiction and the heroine of her novel awakes one day in a dark wood and takes a road less traveled and ends up falling in love with a monk. Yeah, some road. She finds herself awakening after years of a good marriage to a good man in a good place. But some great things, like passion, desire, hopes and dreams got buried in all of that good. And she realizes that's bad.
I'm about halfway through the book. A little like I'm about halfway through my life. I'm 39 - I hope to live to be 78 and still be a presence in a room; but that may not happen. I did awake a few years ago in a dark wood - sorta. And I did take a road less traveled - at least in terms of the roads my family has traditionally taken. I didn't fall in love with a monk. But I may have become one - sorta. And I have realized that a life full of good can get in the way of great; that hopes and dreams and passions can get lost over the years. And that's bad. But, you say, what about the new dreams that have been birthed or the new passions that have been kindled while being or doing good? You know, here on the backside of thirty, I believe you are born with hopes and dreams and passions specific to you and no one else. And over the years those stay the same. Oh, they nuance on you sometimes and may end up being a little different color, but those core dreams keep breaking the surface. Like some mermaid that keeps swimming alongside your boat, cresting at just the right times and cutting those nautical eyes at you and beckoning you to follow her into the depths of the channel less traveled. Those little sea-shell tops are quite a number.
I'll finish Kidd's book; hopefully this week. And I'll finish my life - someday. I hope at the end of her book to close the back cover and smile, content at having read a great book. And I hope to one day die content at having lived a great life. Not one that got interviews on the Today show or left millions to school libraries, mind you. But one that believed in mermaids. And followed them. And became a merman - sorta.