You ought to visit the beach at midnight. If for no other reason, than to see this starry sky. It’s magnificent. It looks like someone sprinkled powdered sugar on a puddle of motor oil.
And sometimes, Gulf waves sound like the earth breathing. In and out. Or, maybe it’s God whispering the same thing over and over. Such as: “It’s gonna be okay. Okay. Oooookay.”
Once, when I was much younger, I stood on this beach at midnight. I was wearing a stiff shirt and necktie.
Earlier that same day, I’d attended the funeral of a friend. It was open casket. My pal looked like he belonged in a wax museum. The whole thing reminded me of my father’s funeral, which made me sick to my stomach.
While I sat in the sand, I saw a man dragging a cooler. He noticed me sulking and mumbled something in Spanish.
I gave a confused look.
So, he opened the cooler and offered me a beer. “I sit here?” he asked.
It was a rude thing to say. Especially since I was trying to be miserable in peace.
He sat down, anyway.
The man didn’t say a word since I wouldn’t have understood him. He only stared upward.
Finally he pointed his bottle at the night and said, “Big. It’s big, yes?”
He made the international hand-gesture for, “big”—like measuring a whale with his hands—and dropped his beer.
So did he.
Of course, he was right. The night sky is more than big. It’s gargantuan, loaded with flecks of light. The entire brain of God is up there, smeared all over, for us to see exactly what he’s thinking.
In fact, if you ever start to feel sad, you ought to go stand waist-deep in the night water. You’ll see things before and above you that make you feel tiny. Your heart will start slowing down, and you’ll begin to feel something.
It’s the feeling that if your loved ones were to leave you; if the whole world were to explode into confectioners’ sugar, that life would keep happening. That babies would keep arriving with scrunched, happy faces. That people would keep falling in love.
That even if someone important to you doesn’t wake up tomorrow, and you have to wear a necktie to their funeral, the sky will still be big. So will the ocean. And love.
Stop worrying. You know who you are.
Everything will be okay.