Saturday, September 6, 2014

Just A Flock of Birds

"Still I always
Look up to the sky
Pray before the dawn
'Cause they fly away
One minute they arrive,
Next you know they're gone
They fly on
Fly on

So fly on

Ride through
Maybe one day I'll fly next to you
Fly on, ride through
Maybe one day I can fly with you"

The other day my mum was talking about how it's smart to start collecting dinnerware or thrifting for future living room furniture when you're done with school and making a little bit of money; I giggled thinking about how far removed those thoughts have always been from my mind.  In the very first minutes of Outlander, a steamy time-travel historical drama set in the Scottish highlands, the main character, Claire, window shops in England; upon reaching an odds-and-ends store she stops and thinks, "I've never owned a vase.  I've never lived in a place long enough to justify having such a simple thing.  Sometimes I wonder what would've happened if I bought that vase and made a home for it.  Would I have been happy? Who could say?"

It's no secret that I've had those thoughts on multiple occasions.  Family tradition in this part of the world, "the American dream," is to graduate high school, get a good degree at a good school, settle in with a lifetime career making more money than your parents did, marry a decent man/woman and start a family no less than 20 miles away from where you grew up.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing that way of life, and often I find myself feeling jealous that I don't fit into that particular formula of life after childhood.  I could have that life if I wanted to create it, but I would be feigning contentment to keep up with the Joneses, secretly yearning for much more than story book happiness.  Instead I find myself like Claire, staring at a beautiful set of silk maroon napkins in Tuesday Morning thinking, "These would be so nice for Thanksgiving dinner, such a great color for autumn."  After running the material through my fingers once more, I reluctantly place them back on the shelf, knowing that any previous signs of being settled in one location are obsolete, absolving the purchase.

In recent years, traveling has become my formula of adulthood, a means for me to explore the lives of others, gaining wisdom from watching how they converse, how they cook, how they pray, how they dress, how they overall react politically, morally, ethically and culturally in situations. It's difficult while at the same time exciting, knowing my life, at least at this moment in time, is meant to be lived floating along the edges of others' settled comfortability; I arrive and leave just as quickly as I come and the outlook remains a bit foggy, but by no means distorted.  I'm constantly reminded to walk with caution, without haste, with bravery, and without fear during each new adventure.  I'm not destined for a Disney movie ending, not quite an On The Road or Into The Wild ending either, but a different ending that's yet to be written, sprinkled with elements from each genre.

One of the hardest things about being diagnosed with wanderlust as a lifetime ailment is the challenge it poses for all relationships. I struggle so much, almost more than anything, to understand why relationships have to be so challenging sometimes.  But when a person is physically unsettled, emotional settlement must rely on spiritual settlement; it's a testament of how important it is to have faith and hope in Christ.  It's hard to accept the fact that some people are only meant to be temporary, clinging to our hearts and souls but no longer wandering through our daily physical life at this time; we need Him to share the sadness and pain of leaving others or others leaving us, whether temporarily or permanently.

As I've grown and spread my wings, flying away from my tree planted in Pennsylvania, my branches wound throughout the States and across the seas, bearing fruitful relationships that have planted seeds for new trees, adorned with a new flock of birds.  The more I keep flying, the more trees I see spring up in various locations, witnessing them being nested by another set of friends.  It's a beautiful image, the way these relationships branch off one another, but they need support so they don't become weak or broken.  This is where love, faith and hope are my anchor, rooting me in something much stronger than myself, and will continue to be my source of energy and refreshment when my formula of adulthood feels like too much to handle, or when I find myself slipping into those jealous thoughts: "What if I bought those napkins and created a home for them . . . would I be happier, would it be easier than this life?"

I believe in depth over distance; I believe love can conquer anything; I believe we can still keep relationships, even create closer relationships, when there's more effort required to communicate and more reliance on God needed for strength and encouragement during the inbetween.  You will know when to hold on and when to let go.

I don't know how to answer a lot of my questions but I do know this:

1. The American dream is not mine and that's okay.  It's okay to have a different dream.
2. To love a life of travel is tricky, often confusing and comes with a lot of change, adjusting and heartache. As long as I keep seeking what is greater than myself through these journeys, I have no reason to feel scared, lost, or broken. Patience, patience, patience is needed for the weary traveler.  Everything has a season and reason. "He has made everything beautiful in its time" Ecc 3:11
3.  We encounter many people, some for a moment, but some for a lifetime.  Seek those lifetime relationships with faith, hope and love, but know that some are meant to be short term.  1 Corin. 13:13

Psalm 121:8 "The Lord will watch over your coming and going now and forevermore."


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