When I was in college (which sometimes now seems strangely long ago), I used to decide I was going to write a blog entry, and just do it. I would begin (usually on a Sunday like today), and just go, not knowing where the winding trail of words would end up, only trusting.

I am sitting in my apartment with the AC off and all the windows open, because this morning my roommate found fleas (ugh), so we set off bug bombs this afternoon and now I am airing everything out. The sun is warm on the back of my neck, and I am happy.

School starts on Wednesday. I haven’t taken the time to be sentimental about it, but it occurs to me now that maybe I should. Writing about what I do all day doesn’t give those things their value, but doing so certainly helps me to understand them.

This will be my fourth year in front of a classroom, my fourth year in the working world, my fourth year as neither a student or a child. I have changed. I have changed so much that sometimes I wonder if I show physical signs of it. Do I walk more quickly now? Does my voice have a slightly lower register? Has the shape of my face stretched and sharpened?

But much more has stayed the same. Maybe it’s silly to say that and post it to the internet, which is a place renowned for its daily hysteria over change, but sitting in a quiet room reminds me that it’s true. There are vines which press themselves against my bedroom window, and they are just the same shade of green as the ones I used to play in and around in my backyard as a little girl. A warm room full of indistinct laughter and talk still sounds the way a full stomach feels, the same as it has for centuries. We all still walk around carrying little burdens of trepidation and confusion and annoyance and wornout cares, which would have looked perfectly familiar to the ancients. We still sing.

All of this hints to me that the truth of the matter is not so much that everything changes, but simply that I am growing up in God’s world, and everyday my eyes see more of it: the good, the warped, the beautiful. There will be moments I will meet which will be discouraging, and of course I may allow myself to be discouraged by them, but I must remember that there will be other moments coming, and then more and more. One day, the more will become most, I will meet my Lord in eternity, and my education, my child-growing-to-adult years, will be complete. I will be ready to begin the real business of living.

So that’s how I’m trying to begin this fourth year out in the beautiful old wounded world: worship and keep my head up, so that as I grow I won’t miss a thing.

The Impulse for Home

What I have to say today will be something I know I’ve said before.

When I was in college I was obsessed with the idea of home. I wrote about it on here a lot: home, friendship, and the weather. In fact, my fixation became so obvious by the end that the poem my dad wrote for my twenty-second birthday was simply called “Homing.” “Our daughter’s always leaving to return– / Her warmest heart is longing after home– / For home she’s made, and for her home she’ll yearn,” ran the refrain.

And then I came home. I lived in my parents’ house for a year, and now I’m in my own place about a mile away. I’ve stopped thinking about home as much, and I’ve certainly stopped writing about. I’m here, right? I don’t need to miss it.

Except sometimes late at night, when I’m not sleeping (which I’m often not), I get homesick. I become keenly aware that I am not where I really long to be, that I live in a place that is shattered, alongside people who, like myself, are bruised and bent from birth. I am more aware of the reality of sin than I’ve ever been before, and sometimes on those nights, even safe in my own bed, I can hear it oozing through the floorboards and pounding in my veins, until I am nearly deaf with the sound. It makes me sick for the land I have yet to lay eyes on, the land where this is set right.

But though I haven’t laid eyes on that final country yet, I do know its taste. It comes to me, and to you, in flickering part-pictures. You find it in conversation with the people who are the gentlest, in the handwriting of someone you love, in some combination of colors, in a very full room or a very empty one, in five-part harmony, in a single voice which speaks a single word. You blink and it’s gone, but for a moment you were Home and now the air is full of its lingering wonder and tang. That’s no accident.

I am trying to be more conscious about bottling these moments to save, not because I think they will cure my late-night homesickness, but because I am greedy to have heavenly truth here on earth. I want what those visions will teach me.

Two weeks ago, while sitting in my second period class, I wrote this:

The sun is out, and this makes me feel as if I am standing up straighter. Like its beams are strings attached to my spine and my chin that tug up, up, up. I feel soft and melted on the inside, as if all those things that weighted me are dribbling away and soon I will float away like a balloon, swinging unsteadily, joyfully, from my ropes of light as more of my forgotten cares drip off my dangling toes.

So that is how I feel. I am grateful, and gratitude smells like rosemary.

That rosemary-sunshine-gratitude is what we’re made for. The rest is shadows.