A leathery-skinned sea cucumber can twist its middle like a liquorice stick and split into two, then grow new backs and fronts to become two separate and whole sea cucumbers. It can contract its muscles and excrete internal organs through its anus, and regenerate missing parts within weeks. The starfish can lose a point and restore that limb within months.
Much can regenerate. Humans included.
On a physical level, tissues and fibres can grow back; hair, nails and the liver organ too. Mostly they can. Regeneration of that essence of us humans, our soul that can dive by a cog or two in its ability to function, can occur too. Must occur.
Just as a sea turtle hatchling digs its way to daylight to scamper across warmed sand under the sharp eye of preying egrets, and into waters where sharks wait ready to snap, navigating that regeneration can be a treacherous, swirling surf. The sea turtle goes on instinct, without question. It’s the same for us.
A panging soul means riding all manner of waves, with and without a surfboard or life buoy, to navigate seas that are normally no concern. We tumble and turn and gasp for air through night and day. We can be meek and brave all in one, tentative as a hermit crab emerging from its shell or as tough as an old shark scared of nothing. Such extremes of mite can be exhausting, the noise so loud that it’s full of sound where nothing can be heard.
And yet in that struggle emerges a depth of strength we’re often unaware of that helps us grow and repair. We somehow find our own way to stable waters, whatever that level of comfort means to each of us. Our energy rejuvenates through its natural healing as a nurturing and survival that the human spirit just knows how to do.
We manage those wildest waves, even if it’s sometimes teetering precariously on the tip of a mountainous wave about to crash from one hundred stories high. At that moment, we feel our hearts skip in that balance of tentativeness and bravado … until a glimmer ignites like a hot air balloon being given a shot of heat, and we know we’re commanding once again. Allowing that time to regenerate, and the patience of time to do so, is key.
Time can mend. Mostly. Usually.
Sometimes, a human spirit cannot manage that mega-surf of extremes. It attempts to steady and becomes agitated, making regeneration a mighty challenge. That soul knows the importance of regeneration and that it could take a short time or a long time. It can lurch in sea-sawing surf and lose its grip to fall in crashing, rapturous roar at any time. And when that happens, that human spirit does not resurface. In a sea so vast, it is lost. Gone. Good-bye to a soul that does not renew in this world.
I wonder if the sea cucumber has a one hundred per cent regeneration rate. I salute it and those with a pang too great to regenerate, and those that can navigate those waters to do so.