“Too often. . .I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.”
Last night, over swordfish and orzo he prepared, we talk of life and of going, somewhere. This summer, so hot, seems to dash my spirit, time and again. I travel in the fall but had returned from a weekend away. Hurricane Irene caused my brother Josh and I to take a different trip than we’d expected: to Colorado instead of North Carolina. Collin hadn’t gone with me; he raced his bike. I was tired, having had an active weekend with Josh that looked like early mornings and yielded sore muscles. We ate, though, and I could see Collin’s face light up as he daydreamed out loud. This world, a playground, and we hear God’s invitation to participate in a word: explore.
I wish I had my camera to photograph the sureness on Collin’s face as he talked, for it mirrored something I know: going (somewhere, anywhere) widens the world, expands sight and shifts perspective. There. Is. More. I go on trips for a number of reasons: to see friends, to work, to participate in mission work, to do something different, to relax. This weekend I went to spend time with Josh and to get away. That was it. We found ourselves, though, strengthened and filled with anticipation and hope for the coming season. It was as if our hearts needed a bit of a reset, and we received it. Our everyday is not the whole of every day. There. Is. More.
It feels like a gift, this reminder.
“…neighbors’ got a new car that you want to drive
and when time is running out you want to stay alive…”
Some friends had a board book I read to their kid once, and the mom and dad and grandpa and whoever else in the book tossed the baby up in the air. And the baby cried, “more, more, more,” delighted. We read that story about fifty times, which as it turned out killed the effect for me. I could have done with less. I get bored with repetition, with the mundane. Some of my neurosis is likely the cause or product of chronic restlessness.
I am still on vacation. And I am still in love with being around this.
There is also a good bit of green around here. Everything seems better when outside lies buried in green newness.
The oh-so-astute duke said he found it funny (in this context, funny is the gentler, nicer framing of weird or downright odd) that I opted to spend my vacation with a family with two little kids. “Babies?” he asked. I tried to explain. When I got here and relayed the story to Catherine, mom of said babies, she agreed. It is kinda odd, but she was glad that’s where I’ve landed.
But here’s the thing. This restless wanderlust refuses to settle. I love it. I want it. I think I need it.
It’s people, though, who help me yield when it is time to stop and show up and be present, which is most of the time. The mundane may be boring at times, but so much of the more side of life is found in consistency and commitment. I can be on vacation here without needing to travel somewhere exotic and new because here I stop and let my heart show up. And in so doing I find love and laughter and life in the simplicity of little hands reaching up, ready to be tossed, wanting to be hugged.
I often write that people are the greatest expression of God’s kindness to me. Here I find awareness of the excess of that kindness given to me. That excess makes me want to respond by rediscovering that awareness wherever I am.
seductive sunshine shaded slightly by cloudy clusters of overcast
calling feet towards a run, inviting hair into breeze
captivating eyes with everything to see
beautiful fall, please mesmerize me always
so that summer’s harsh reality and winter’s cold mortality and spring’s newborn fragility
let you get the best of me, annually for eternity
The poem and the images have nothing to do with the SAT. You don’t have to be someone with a particularly high score on the SAT to know that. So there you go. The weather in the Metroplex this week, though, it has me at hello every morning. Every single morning.
I took the SAT my junior year along with many of my friends after a night of go-cart riding wherein I did in fact manage to go off-roading at an extremely fast and unsafe speed. My friends, who watched my go-cart disappear into the darkness that was off to the side of the go cart track, feared the worst. When the time came for yearbook signing my junior year, they wrote notes that included “Where’s Erin?” And we laughed.
We stayed out too late. We took the test. I scored somewhere on the upper side of mediocre. I got into all of the colleges I applied to, but the upper side of mediocre was not upper enough for me to get adequate scholarship money for the schools of my choice.
Instead, I spent my college career off-roading, on a unique path towards who I am becoming still. I went to local universities for journalism for two years. I dropped out to find God. I traveled for five years. Jesus started to matter more than anything else. Truth took root, sometimes barely. I thrived. I made friends. I thought I fell in love a few times. I did fall in love. My heart got broken. Mending took a long time.
I fell in love again and again with Eastern Europe, with Africa, with cities.
I started to believe that I, that we were made for something more. I finished my journalism degree eight years after I started. I found photography. I started working at Grace. God spoke and speaks. All this is beautiful to me.
If I had done a little better on the SAT, it wouldn’t have been my life. God is so good at making different, better plans than we make for ourselves. I am thankful. I live hopeful.
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Tagged fall, God, high-school, hope, Jesus, life, more, photography, plans, poetry, SAT