The ocean heals, we say. I have had quite a collection of friends come visit me in South Florida either with the conscious intention of healing by the sun and sea or expressing their surprise appreciation upon leaving. Knowing the power of the sun and waves, I am always saddened (and feel a bit guilty) when the sun is not as present during any given friend’s visit. It also makes me wonder what haven we would seek in its place if I moved away from Florida.
The truth is that Florida has been equally as healing for me. As I said in my first entry, I never thought I’d ever be here.
I know I remarked on the eight month anniversary of my time in Florida and promise not to make the turn of every month into a moment for silence, but I feel a strong desire to mention that I have been enjoying Floridian living for nine months now. As I do, I want to give due respect to the sunshine and the waves of the Atlantic. With the raw sting felt by two of my favorite women this week, I am reminded of how far I’ve come (geographically and emotionally) and how real that pain is. Now that most of it has melted into sun rays and wisdom, I don’t want to go back to being the girl who thought that pain was fabricated.
The last time I had a major split, a cousin responded to a particularly painful story of mine by saying, “Now you will be able to be there, truly, when someone else is in this position. You will be a gift to them.” Today, I am appreciating the cyclical nature of growth. I am now the one on the other end of that phone call. I just hope that I can provide the respect they provided me when I was lost and vulnerable.
In addition to the healing power of vitamin D, the sunshine has allowed me to be active outside, to socialize, to explore, and to travel by foot and bike. I have paid my living-in-a-cold-environment dues in Moldova and Boston and was grateful to avoid spending this last winter in inevitable cold-weather isolation. I could have ended up anywhere after being sidelined in the middle of the Mediterranean. In fact, I was considering every corner of the globe. But I am so overwhelmingly grateful that I have spent these last nine months in the Sunshine State with the people I have grown close to here. It has been additionally beneficial for my soul, my heart, and my sense of serendipity. Even considering the drama, the heartache, the loneliness, and the challenges — actually, thanks to them — I know I am better off now than if I had been somewhere else during this period of transition. I had sunshine here to feed my soul. Thank you, Florida.