While it may not be an overstatement to describe my recent move as the hardest I have made in my life, that statement seems to beg for sympathy and neglects to mention that on the whole, I have had a wonderful life. Nevertheless, this season of my life has been filled with transitions and goodbyes and unasked for beginnings, which have made this city feel uncharted despite my 7 years spent in her care. Where the anonymity of the nation’s capital once felt bold and liberating, it now presses in on me, tightening my chest like the July humidity.
So to counter the ache that I feel for home and the longing I have to be known, I have taken to finding the good things. The blessings hidden in the city or the joy of finding unexpected familiar faces in the crowd.
– A storm came in today. One of those bend-the-trees-with-the-wind storms that lights up the sky enough for you to see waves of rain fanning from the sky. I watched the storm, safely perched in my 8th floor office with space to appreciate it’s terrifying beauty and engaging work to return to once it had passed.
– I write this on a train. A train taking me to see an old friend in the city. Amid transience and happy hour friendships, there are glimpse of longevity; of staying; of pressing in to the harder road.
– Although I am grateful for safe public transportation, I am even more grateful that my daily commute spans less than 1 mile. That my home-work-life circles overlap and that my life is not eaten by traffic or crowded trains, giving me the freedom to read, cook, write, rest.
– That coherent life led me to spend the weekend visiting with neighbors. To be sure, they were my friends before they were my neighbors, but reclaiming the life of a neighborhood is, as Wendell Berry says, a gift. Each step reinforces that these streets are my streets; these trees are my trees. I am not alone but have been bound up with others, if only by the same HOA.
And none of these tell of the ties of covenant relationships spoke of by James on Sunday or the meal shared with my oldest friend that same night. They don’t tell of the daily care that surrounds me or my family who loves me across the miles. And I am sure that still more graces will be given, more blessing will appear.
May we all have eyes to see.