When Wanderlust Calls

I have always lived within earshot of train tracks.

From the slice of suburban life that I called my childhood home, to the dilapidated balcony of my younger self’s great leap into independence; from the teeny tiny Californian apartment rubbing elbows with a new husband and a new name, to the solid brick ranch nestled in the vibrant green that is Tennessee’s cloak…

…the wail of a train’s whistle has penetrated the walls of every abode-and every stage-of my life.

“Come, see where I may lead you.”

I am inherently a homebody. My favorite personal accounts and sections of books are not the wild excitement of far off places and daring escapades, but the details and tender moments of daily life. Of people growing and learning together. Of the intimacy and beauty of life planted.

I’m the one who wishes the montage of Belle and the Beast getting to know one another was 30 minutes longer.

And though I have been fortunate to have visited a great portion of this vast country (more than I ever thought I would), my heart has been, and always will be, filled with visions of cool roots and familiar routines, warm hearth and a place of my own to rest my bones at the end of each day.

The itch of wanderlust rarely touches my skin.

But sometimes….the haunting cry of a train will rise with the morning mist, beckoning to me despite my flat feet planted in terra firma, and the life grown there.

And I am bitten once more.

Traveling by flight is an incredible thing; quick, efficient, and terrifyingly high. Between the pressure changes pulling and pushing your body, and the booming whirl of the engines filling your ears, the experience will overload your senses.

But as amazing as flying across the country is, it lacks the experience of transition. You miss the subtle shifts of land and people, scents and accents.

Travel by vehicle is better, in the sense that the slower pace enables you to truly view the world passing by. But driving requires focus in order to preserve life and limb, often robbing you of a thousand tiny glimpses and opportunities around you.

Most of all, the very sounds of planes and cars, with their various earth shaking thunder and shrieking horns, cause you to cringe or stiffen in unconscious defense.

But not a train.

It whistles to you, sings to you a melody of steel and steam, promising an unknown destination with a hundred sights before you reach it. Cradled within its metal womb, you can watch the world shift and change, see where iron and earth intertwine, where plains grow into mountains, or the ocean adjusts its hue.

Even the people around you change with the landscape. Commuters heading home with anticipation, small children gazing out windows in wonder, even lonely travelers silently wishing to be known by a stranger. Their faces are as diverse and emotional as the creation outside, there to teach you of a vast world full of vivid history.

All this while being swept along by something more powerful then yourself, lulled by the rhythmic clickity-clack of the tracks beneath. It breathes a sigh of magic with each mile, and promises adventure.

So as I wash my dishes, and sip my tea, bathe wiggly children, and fold laundry, I am thankful for the solid life that is mine. Both the mundane and extraordinary can live within the same four walls. Both wonder and routine can grow in a backyard garden.

But once in a while, the pull of unknown places and far off lands builds within me.

The wind has changed, and I hear the train.

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What calls to you? How does wanderlust grab hold of you?

1915

Listen my son, for to you I confer

Our history, our past and beseech you

Remember

For the crimson stain of our brothers

Splattered across our homeland walls

Remember

For the smell of burnt flesh and embers

Where our sisters once danced aflamed

Remember

For the sound of the desert zephyrs

That buried our children’s weary corpses

Remember

So to you my son, these words I transfer

Lest we forget the Hand that saved us

Remember

Click here for a summary of the Armenian Genocide. April 24th is the day that we remember the atrocities committed against thousands of Christian families (my own great grandfather being one of them), and the light of faithfulness that still shined through all that horror.

I Didn’t Say “I Do”

Like most young girls, I thought about my future wedding now and then-what my groom would look like, the dress, the lights, the flowers-all the small things that set such a day apart from all others. But more than all of that, I wondered what it would feel like to say “I do”.

Fast forward several years to a rainy August evening where I did stand before God and witnesses, and spoke holy vows to the tall man in front of me. 

I will have and hold.

I will honor and obey.

I will take you as my husband, and forsake all others.

I will hold to only you.

I will.

I will?? What happened to “I do”? Forgive me for asking, but doesn’t “I do” seem a little more classic? More romantic? More…..wedding-like?

Ah, naive little bride was I.

Eight years later, I am only just now beginning to understand where the “I do” comes into play. Why I wasn’t meant to say it on my wedding day, amidst the pomp and circumstance, the feasting and the ebb and flow of the waltzes.

Because I have said “I do” every single day since. 

I spoke “I will” publicly in silk and satin, but I have whispered “I do” privately to the rising sun, blazing in glory. I have shouted it surrounded by the reek of diapers and burnt bread. I have cried it to the darkness in cold sheets and bruised emotions. And I have laughed it to the wind, as the trees shed their flaming coats.

On happy days, frustrating days, days when everything and everyone is messy, days full of romantic excitement, and days weighed down by the mundane- it may not always be spoken aloud, but it’s there.

I do.

I do have and hold you.

I do strive to honor and obey.

I do take you to be mine and forsake all others.

I do choose you.

I choose you.

Every day, every morning, every evening-the vows are silently spoken yet again. Renewed over and over and over, until the door to the next life is opened to one of us.

I choose you.

I do.

Hearth and Home

hearth
noun
  1. the floor of a fireplace
  2. used as a symbol of one’s home

There are few things more satisfying than snuggling into deep cushions, sipping an enticingly hot cup of tea, surrounded by glorious stillness and calm-all the while gazing into the mesmerizing flames of a well stoked fire…..

Oh, wait.

I don’t have a fireplace.

My husband has strictly forbidden me from “playing” with fire indoors (notice there was no mention of outdoor restriction….)

And glorious stillness has become a rare and treasured occurrence when three tiny humans invade most moments.

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All the above may be true, yet I am still drawn to the idea of a fireplace hearth. Once upon a time, it was the hub of a house-a place of nourishment, warmth, and dreams. Its essence was the center, the very heart of every home.

This provoked a new thought. I may not possess the physical presence of a fireplace in our current rental abode, but what would I say holds our essence, our heart-what would be the hearth of our home? Continue reading “Hearth and Home”