Amidst the swirling chocolate and beats of gypsy music, I remember the dormant tug on my heart. The deep desire rising when memories of mountain peaks, rushing rivers, and scents of sage call. The cooing of turtledoves, red feathered hawks, and startling encounters with bald eagles. The way Deschutes trips over rocks under the bridge at Sawyer Park or Dudley’s open window smells like the streets of Spain or biking to the farmers market is the epitome of it all – belonging.
Today I remember the thrill of the gypsy and the inner torture that life always carries when we sit at the Grand Theatre in yet another new home town and watch Chocolat. Nathan remarks afterward how he enjoyed the film even more this time than when we viewed it together on one of our first dates. “Probably because you now relate,” I remind him. But for me the story lives in my bones – a hollow inside where belonging resides for most.
Lately longings of our life in Bend haunt me. Never before has God’s natural creation taken hold of me. Never has a connection with nature become a part of me. Three Sisters greeted me every day. Mt. Bachelor winked me Good Night. The Deschutes was my confidant. I walked out my doorstep, sat on its banks, and shared my sorrows, my joys. Bend became my friend. A reality only once known through Wendell Berry books and Nathan’s lamentations of his days in the PA Highlands. I belong to a place.
In Texas you belong to a culture, a people group (You really do need a passport to visit). You don’t belong to the concrete or the stale air or the eight lanes of highway at 75mph. Today as I watched the main character struggle to decide whether to pick up or plant roots, I asked myself “Will I ever get the chance to make that decision? Will you Lord ever afford me the option?” We are in year one of three. Law School. Salem, OR. I already feel myself slipping. Diving down into the recesses of the only home I know – the world inside me. I hate pulling away. But do you think I don’t sense it from others? You say law school. They say transient. You say three years. They say stay away. You step inward. They step backward. And the dance plays as it has played my entire adulthood. Always some reason to leave.
The constant hellos and goodbyes are wearisome. When O Savior do we get off this carousel?
Can you believe He answered? Oh sure you can. It’s one we all know well just need to remember. Once upon a time you and me and all those we’ve embraced in the family of Christ will live together forever with a belonging deeper and richer than any we can provide. Hold on. It’s coming.