Soon after we moved to Florida, we looked around our newly-Ikea-furnished apartment, small, simple, and happy, and observed how surprisingly easy it was for people to settle down. To create a safe place, grow roots, get comfortable. Originally, all I wanted to do was be abroad. I planned to live overseas for the next five years, teaching and traveling. I planned for excitement and adventure and spontaneity, figuring out my identity, learning about other people and places to learn more about myself and what was most important to me. I wanted to be uncomfortable, to know Jesus in other cultures, to know love universal. I wanted to take risks, avoid familiarity, to know who I was at the core, regardless of environment and circumstance. Was it even possible?
My dreams of flight keep me grounded, the part of me I have always lived, the only part I have always known.
Originally, the last place I wanted be was in America. When I got married in July, one of my fears was that we would become like another of those couples who genuinely desired and planned to go abroad but got trapped in white middle-class suburbia.
But somehow, traveling does not hold the same personal exigency it once did. It no longer represents the path to finding myself; I'm discovering who I am right now in part by pausing long enough to explore inward. It is no longer the journey of carving a new life into an unknown community; now, wherever I go, I will be part of an already shared life with Noah. It no longer entices me to be everywhere but nowhere, ready to be uprooted at whim, since now I have stability and belonging to someone.
Leaving was not about running away. Direction mattered less than the ability to go. Maybe the fulfillment in serving others overseas can be found here. It was never about a specific place for me, and maybe it is not really about that at all. Maybe I am learning to be still. Maybe there is more freedom in choosing to stay. Maybe movement happens and paths unfold more within myself than I used to think.
Footsteps echo in the memory Down the passage which we did not take Towards the door we never opened –T.S. Eliot
Are my desires shifting? Or am I falling into the very trap I wanted all my life to escape?