It’s a beautiful day in Annapolis.
This is the city of all the people I used to be. I see them and hear them walking by.
Girls talking to each other — “About lastnight…”
Couples speaking quietly from a bench waterside.
Uniformed Midshipmen's loved ones visiting because they could make it in time to enjoy the three-day weekend.
Brand new parents pushing strollers outdoors, perhaps for the first time, ever-so tentatively. Will the air be good or bad for the new baby?
I’ve even been the barista working behind the counter at Starbucks and watching the late-morning Monday crowd pile up in a seemingly endless stack.
I’ve been the one with the Bible open next to my laptop, trying to find some nugget of inspiration to get people to see the Scriptures a different way, new way, fall-in-love kind of way.
Coming down to Annapolis makes me gulp in beauty and fresh air like a starved convict, dying for more of this freedom.
This place also makes me suck in my breath with gratitude at where I am today, as opposed to all the people I used to be. Thank god we get to keep growing.
And it makes me a little melancholy at all the things I messed up in my past because I was so damn terrified of Pain.
Surprisingly, the point of life is not to try and avoid pain. The point of life is to live it. Go ahead and minimize foolish risks, selfish risks, but don’t trash the things you love because of fear of pain, or disapproval.
Spoiler alert: you can try to do that all you want, but pain is a gas and it can seep in through the tightest of seals.
The good news is this: many happy lifeforms can coexist with pain.
Pain does not mean that all pleasure, all joy, all happiness is totally suffocated.
Both pain and joy, living and dying, sit down in the cafe together and talk.
Both experiences elevate and illuminate one another.
So in reality, where I’d like most to live, there is no sense in making a choice to abandon one or the other. Group hug on the city dock, with gulls floating above.