When my sister came home from Africa, it was like going on vacation. A constant party. Brunch. College. A night out on the town…every night.
But really. We were reunited partners in crime, her and I. World, you oughta watch out, we said. We know how to have to fun.
Relatively speaking. (Chicago friends, quit scoffing.)
One night, after singing and playing guitar and a long run and gosh knows what all else, we grabbed our journals and sprawled out on Alicia’s flowery comforter. (We had to go to her room because her bed is bigger. Bah.) It was a back-and-forth game: poke your finger into the pages. Announce the date. Take turns reading.
One veto allowed, we declared.
And so it began:
ME: April 2, go.
ALICIA: I decided, on a whim, to venture across the hillside of Africa. I met a tribal leader, learned their language, and then taught them how to fish, meanwhile correlating the fishing process to their native religious principles and eventually (subtly, of course) tying in themes of Christianity to help sow the seeds of Jesus.
Before I departed, I made friends with three small children whose parents were so touched by my kindness, I received this carving of a small elephant as a parting gift. Someday I will return to this tribe, and bring with me the elephant as a sign of my continued promise to hold them in my thoughts and prayers.
You’re turn, Nes.
ME: Okay. Well.
My heart is flooded with a waterfall of emotions. Emotion, emotion, blah blah blah, what’s next, what’s next, blah blah. Musical songs stuck in my head oh my gosh please get them out of my head the drive to Sioux Falls is rather boring I wonder what’s for supper oops late, bedtime, work, where will my heart lead me, cute ending DONE.
I’m kidding, of course.
Talk about miles and worlds apart. From January to April Alicia and I ventured on paths completely different from one another.
I’ve alluded to this theme in previous blog posts, and yet here I am, driving it home once again. Respect respective journeys. Am I being subtle enough with my theme here?
Maybe this is my first big post-college lesson. The education systems puts you on the same page with your peers, at least to some degree. For years. Years! Now–now–I’m realizing, seeing, the beauty of life without a course catalogue to keep me, or you, on track. And it’s a wow. And a challenge not to compare.
Maybe it’s because my own journey, compared to many of my peers (note the comparison happening here, yikes), has twisted just a bit, and in the past year or two it has taken a deliberate effort on my part to find a way to respect my own respective road. To accept. Because it’s easy–too easy–to think, “I wish…”
Or maybe I lack creativity and I need a new theme.
I don’t know.
Our days of crime, Alicia and mine, did come to an end, by the way. Albeit, temporarily.
Now, she and Christina both have ventured off to explore the world. Not even kidding. Alicia is in Europe and Christina is in Africa. I worry for them and am excited for them equally.
I’m on my own trek, although not crossing any oceans for the time being. Watching Freeman get smaller (which I didn’t even know was possible) and the road ahead stretch endlessly on was a mix of yes! and a question mark so large I didn’t know how to fit it in my little red Honda, let alone how to feel about it.
The week before leaving, Alicia and I went to Freeman to do some errands. We got coffee, stopped at the bank, and drove by the high school track meet.
It dawned on us then that this could be our life in forty years.
We would be those old single women, driving a red minivan, drinking coffee, going to the bank, and creeping on high schoolers at 10mph.
(…as traffic piles up behind us. Oops.)
Time to go East?
This is my respective journey, and gosh darn, I’m going to do my best to respect wherever God’s calling. What more can we do? And in the meantime, all you all, and my crazy world-travelling sisters, our paths our linked. From now on, wherever you go, or wherever I go, all the ground between us will be holy ground.
(Henri J.M. Nouwen for the win.)
Of course, our journeys are our own. But even as, as I write this, and as you read this, perhaps from miles and miles away, I am so thankful for the common ground. Holy ground. Because the ground from me to you, wherever you are, is truly, truly holy.