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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Stanway

"You are mine"

I recently sat with my youngest and watched my octopus teacher on Netflix- If you haven't seen it, go watch it. It's wonderful, magical and heart wrenchingly painful.

Whilst watching I couldn’t help but be enthralled, there was so much I didn’t know about this apparently common creature- there was so much wonder to behold I’m not entirely sure if I blinked through the whole program.

It follows the story of a guy, a filmmaker who has burned out, and in trying to find himself again he begins to dive- as he used to as a child, he dives in South Africa and this is where he comes across the octopus.

This little octopus takes centre stage, you get to watch their relationship unfold right before your eyes,

We got to follow through the stages of her oh so short life (One year!), we saw her hunt and hide, play and seek. At one point one of her tentacles is bitten off by a barrel rolling shark and you think this is it, this is the end of her- why am I watching this? But.. she recovers, it takes a while but she grows a new tentacle and then goes on to outsmart the sharks- and hear this, at one point she is actually riding on a sharks back to avoid being eaten.. I know right? “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is taken to a whole new level.

What I’m really trying to say here is this octopus was an underwater legend, Smart, sassy, vibrant and playful.

She’s just swimming around, the world her oyster, shark riding to avoid death and outsmarting everyone she comes in contact with- and then, she meets a guy, settles down, has babies and dies.

Just like that.

You see this little octopus white with weakness, being tossed around in the swell, being eaten by brittlestars and crabs- the creatures that were once her triumphant prey… just floating helplessly, and finally a passing shark swipes her from the floor and she’s gone forever.

I was in bits.. sobbing with grief and heartache for this octopus, and for myself- was I metaphorically like this octopus?

Oh how I had longed for the diver to intervene through the program, to chase away the sharks, to hide her away from the predators- to say “Not today, not on my watch” by the ending I willed him to pick her battered body from the ocean floor and reignite her vibrance.

To tell her all will be well, that he had her.

I know she was just simply going through her lifecycle, it is the nature of the world we live in but.. sometimes I may feel like that little octopus, looking back at my once vibrant, dream

reaching, shark rider of a girl to the seemingly washed up lifeless shell left of me after nurturing my own babies- when your self gets sidelined no matter how much you said it wouldn’t, when there’s no time or energy left for your own dreams and desires that now seem such a lifetime ago.

This isn’t just about having children, what about the career you threw yourself into, the extra

hours, burning the candle at both ends, giving your all and now you are tired.

Or when your family member became ill and you took care of them, you gave your life for another and now you are tired, your purpose entwined with another and those dreams you once burned for are faded to a shadow- you feel like a shadow, a whisper of the person you longed to become.

These life purposes are good, the ability to give yourself for another- Holy.

To work as though unto the Lord, no matter what- commendable and pleasing.

I’m being real here- sometimes I look around and wonder who I am. Who I actually am.

I was asked recently what I Love, what interests I have - I gave a feeble mumble of an answer that in no way summed me up, because I couldn’t actually think of anything I do enough to be counted as an “interest”.

That night I lay in bed, silently crying into my pillow- trying not to disturb my husband because how could I actually say I could relate to an octopus? That I had felt her story so deeply I was now ugly crying into my pillow.

I kept replaying that longing I had had for the diver to intervene, to scoop her up and tend to her.

And then it hit me in the dark while I lay there trying to make sense of all these feelings… I am not that octopus- or at least that is not my end, that is not my story.

I have a father who scoops me up, whispers tenderly to me that I have a hope and a future, that before he formed me he knew me, I am his workmanship, I will not perish for I have eternal life, I can do all things through him who gives me strength.

He is my vitality,

He is my vibrance,

He is my vision, my dream and my desire.

Like the octopus, we may have hurts and wounds and something akin to losing a limb. This world can be painful and heartbreaking and feel like we are constantly avoiding the predators, that wave after wave hits and we can feel helpless and overwhelmed and eaten alive.

But we have only to call on the name of the Lord - Abba father! and we will be saved, he will

scoop you up and restore you.

If today you feel tired, and that life is just going through the motions- take some time, spend it with your Abba father.

Let him whisper tenderly to you.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you: I have called you by name. You are mine (Isaiah 43.1)

Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 1:5

Ephesians 2:10

John 3:16

Phillipians 4:13

Joel 2:28

Romans 8:15

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