Along the beaches in Prince Edward Island, seaweed washes ashore in abundance.
In our city of Summerside, workers remove accumulated seaweed from the beach on a regular basis. Seaweed is a part of life along the coast of this province.
Kelp, one type of seaweed, has a holdfast, a root-like structure, at the end of the stalk which anchors it to a substrate such as a rock. Sometimes, the holdfast is visible when the kelp is on the beach.
More rarely, rough seas issue forth the kelp attached to a rock. In our travels around the beaches of the island this past summer, we have only see one such rock which looked as if the kelp grew out of the it.
Holdfast is such an interesting word. For me, it provides an analogy for life where the seas are often calm, and holding on is easy. However, when storms stir up the water, it is hard to hold on and you can be shaken to the core. Like the seaweed, you are dislodged. Such times are the true test.
Seeing the holdfasts on the beach, reminded me of our family friend, Reuben. He lost his eyesight due to undiagnosed diabetes. Reuben was the sole breadwinner in his family. He and his wife, Florrie, lived in rural Newfoundland over fifty years ago where, if you couldn't fish, there was no way to support yourself except by government assistance. He and his wife always grew vegetables but after Reuben lost his sight, Florrie grew the garden herself.
Learning to be mobile again, feed himself and do all the other daily activities we take for granted, were a challenge for Reuben in a place without professional support. He had a choice however. With the support of his wife and community, Reuben embraced life as it presented itself in a black world. He kept his sense of humour and his love of life throughout the remainder of his days. Reuben was an example of how to live in the face of adversity, when blackness surrounds you.
Unlike the seaweed, we have a choice in how we deal with rough seas. Everyone needs time to process life's challenges. Then, we can choose to adapt and move forward or give in to the blackness. I pray to holdfast.