The sea does not meet the sky

The sea does not meet the sky. They kiss only

in our minds. They are priceless in that space

which recedes forever where we make them lovers

‘Those Others’ from Ian Wedde

For a little while now I have been trying to think about the gaps of life. Bit of a hard task, trying to think the negative. Like Ian Wedde implies, we tend to close in the gaps, we tend to talk as if they don’t exist – as if the sea and the sky really kiss. We even have a name for that imaginary meeting of sea and sky; we call it the horizon.

But we don’t have a name for the actually existing gap between the sea and sky; for what Wedde describes as “that space which recedes forever”. We have a name for the lie of their touch but not for the truth of their separation. Strange situation.

The gap I’ve been thinking about is the gap between problem and solution. If this gap has a name, perhaps it’s something like ‘waiting’ or ‘uncertainty’. Our problems come to us alone; we do not receive our problems with accompanying readymade solutions (if this is the case then we didn’t really have a problem to begin with). So all we can do is learn to sit in the problem before us, with the solution far off in the distance, unknown at that moment and, (only perhaps) received much later on. It doesn’t need to be a passive waiting, but some waiting has to take place.

Sometimes my peers studying politics hate me for living this way, telling me again, “do not go on critiquing unless you’re going to give me an answer”, or a little more ethically charged “while you sit here thinking another child in Syria dies”.

But there is no other way from problem to solution than through the gap in between. Life is not like the advert tries to make it: “do you have a problem? Well I have the solution for you!” Rather, the tight embrace of problem and solution – like sea and sky – is true only in our imaginations.

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1 thought on “The sea does not meet the sky”

  1. For some time I have been reflecting that many people in today’s world have lost a vital part of what they are offered, if they are prepared to take a step of faith towards Christ. The thing they have lost is: hope. It is beaten out of some people, through their repeated experience of random problems that disrupt whatever plans they may have begun to make; it is denied others because it is a word they have not grown up with. But it is a precious gift: the idea that, NO MATTER what today’s problem is, I can have hope that there will be an answer. It is not blind optimism; but an encouragement to dare, to try, to consider, to wrestle: not to succumb or choose apathetic acceptance. Hope drives us to action: not necessarily straight away; but even the waiting period now has a name: it is the time when we are working on some kind of a plan, because we have a hope for a better outcome than the one that seems to lie ahead. And hope can be shared: it is infectious; and deserves to be discussed and debated. Let’s offer hope to those around us: let’s walk on together, looking for that place where the sky and the sea embrace.

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