The Pacific Ocean looked mad as hell to me. It looked as though every hateful thought and feeling crawling around in its ancient depth was exploding to life in front of my eyes; reckless, destructive. The salt water, wind, and hopeless grey skies sewed their way right into my flesh, piercing my heart in no time. I believe that was the most afraid I had ever been in my ten-year old life.
“You see that?” Dad shouted above the swells as they crashed mercilessly upon the jetty and the shoreline itself. “This is what the sea can be. Full of energy and power. You need to remember…promise me you will never turn your back on it. It’ll swallow you in a flicker of an eye.”
-From, "One Eye on the Ocean: A Memoir"
by Aaron Williamson
One Eye on the Ocean:
A devoted Mormon husband and father confronts a hidden truth and risks losing all he has ever loved.
“One night a decade ago, as I laid on the sofa, coddled in the arms of my wife of fifteen years, I was gasping for air through tears so violent she nearly came undone in desperation to know what was happening. “Are you suicidal? Are you addicted to drugs? What is it, Aaron? You lost your job? You’re seeing another woman?”
“Stephanie,” (I choked out the nearly inaudible words in response to the total absurdity the suggestion of infidelity) “you are the only woman I could ever love.”
The words exploded in mid-air, the subtle emphasis of words revealing me. And suddenly she knew. She knew I was gay. I was unwillingly exposing the root of all my misery; years of slow, secretive death. But neither of us knew what was next. We had three sons and a deeply loving relationship. Weren’t we soulmates? Hadn’t we defied death and mastered time by marrying for eternity in the Mormon Temple? Now all we seemed to have was a perceived perfect future to grieve and an uncertain path of destruction to navigate. But navigating dangerous waters was something of a calling for me. I’d spent a lifetime doing it. I excelled at it. And navigate it them we did.”
One Eye on the Ocean is a portal into a world where love, compassion, and resilience find rare, surprising life in the most desperate of circumstances. It is a time-and-space-bending recounting of astonishing unlikelihoods that converge in the real world. Readers of "Love Warrior", by Glennon Doyle, "Leaving the Saints", by Martha Beck, and “To Shake the Sleeping Self”, by Jedediah Jenkins will find this book to evoke deep and meaningful truths about the brutal and frightening places we go in the effort to find our truth while holding on to love and certainty at almost any cost.
Deeply personal, this book tells the story of a father, husband, ex-husband, gay man, religious escapee, nurse, professor, and the somewhat mystical, empathic and intuitive abilities that developed to keep him safe in a hostile world.