I spent my second Eid al-Adha, “Festival of Sacrifice,” in Morocco perched again in my favorite holiday nest above Essaouira. I love Jack’s Apartments–especially numbers 6 and 7–positioned above the medina and wall hailed by history, Hollywood, and HBO. From the balcony all I see is sea. All I hear are seagull shrieks slicing through blue sky and roaring winds, waves crashing into rocks, then spewing like geysers below.
I returned to be calmed by the churning ocean and to be broken by beauty. To rest on the ramparts–a visual reminder of God’s protection everyday.
Here I can relax and remember what I too often forget–that prayers have been and will be answered. Though I’m usually optimistic, in seemingly impossible situations or when I’m tired of waiting for answers about the future to come, I’m tempted to think change will occur “when pigs fly.” Translated: Never or in a long, long time. Here pigs don’t fly because there are none. But goats do. It’s easy to be hopeful, to be grateful in Essaouira. Here my faith is strengthened in the quiet, the calm, the time to simply breathe and remember and cling to promises that I’ve been given for my good.
On this wall anything seems possible. Orson Welles became Othello in Shakespeare’s play of a biracial couple hundreds of years before South African apartheid and south America’s Jim Crowe laws were abolished. Here Game of Thrones’ Danerys—a widow and queen—raised an army from men she freed and commanded her dragon to destroy an evil ruler.
Here Mogador, original name of Essaouria, defended herself since she was founded by the Phoenicians in the 6th century agains Roman, Arab, Portuguese, and French rule. Pirates, an earthquake, and a tsunami couldn’t destroy the city that, like the Phoenix, rose from ashes.
I’ve always been revived by the sea. A mermaid in Marrakesh–a sometimes fish-out-of-water– I need its salt as salve. I feel small next to the ocean and the horizon–reminders of how big God is. His love washes over me. Though I still miss my children on the other side of the Atlantic every single day and find this empty nest thing one of the biggest challenges of my life, I’m thankful for this new season away with God where he provides new adventure, beauty, and relationship.
On a rooftop with a 360 panoramic view I wonder where I’ll be a year from now. One of my biggest lessons of last year–of this move–was in a book I taught, Life of Pi: “All of life is letting go.” I’m still working on more trust, less worry. I only know the same hand that stirs the surf and tames the tide holds whatever is to come. As is said here by Muslim friends (as well as Christians and Jews in the Middle East and parts of Africa)… In sha Allah. As God wills.