Friday, May 20, 2011

Under Pressure.

Freddy Mercury has had my ear all week. If a guy is going to sing to me, I’d rather he not be in a wickedly flared jumpsuit open to his navel and erupting in chest hair. But Freddy it is and Freddy it has been all week. And he hasn’t even mixed up the play list. 

Under Pressure, indeed.

As a kid, I loved the movie “Raise the Titanic.” I actually thought it was true, a bubble my father waited a little while to burst. I wanted to see the ship that had sunk so far and was raised again, irrevocably damaged but strong enough to complete its original journey. The tension as the submersibles slowly descended miles into the dark, some not surviving the water’s insurmountable pressure. I have been enthralled by the unsinkable ship ever since.

My son is reading a storybook that takes place on the Titanic. I popped the bubble right away when he asked if we could go and see it. His response was immediate and matter of fact. “Why don’t they go and get it?” I explained things like water pressure, broken hulls and disintegration. “Why can’t someone fix it?”

Because something that has sunk that far and suffered that much damage can’t be brought back.

But what if it could? My recognition of water’s power – that it could be beautiful and terrifying, soothing and vengeful – began with that movie. But what riveted me was the idea that there was still hope. That this beautiful, impenetrable and defiant vessel could emerge from her watery grave.

We live rapid-fire lives, with careers that demand no less than 60-hour work weeks enabled by immediate and constant access we both provide and demand. To expose our children to a future with no limits, we overwhelm them with activities and expectations. We are pushed and pulled by families, personal passions, careers and bills. We are a pressure-hungry, pressure-driven species.

The intensity of before seems so trivial now that I am viewing it through the intensity of after.

Loss crushed us beneath its weight and then returned like waves that randomly crash on a reef before settling into a rhythmic ebb and flow. It’s as though I have been existing under water, my surroundings muffled and emotional pressure crippling me. Breaking the surface, I float until life returns in spades.  

I am still riveted by the hope that something so irrevocably damaged can emerge from the depths, wearing her wounds with pride as she continues to move forward. I am driven because I know it is possible.

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