Day 69: Severna Park, MD
I drove 12 hours yesterday and loved every minute of it. I told myself I would keep driving until I couldn't no more. I kept waiting for myself to get tired and restless, but I never did. Maybe I was just excited to reach my next destination. Maybe I didn't want to pay for a hotel. Maybe the scenes of the Shenandoah Valley entranced me. Maybe grace. Probably all of the above. Regardless, I'm here on a porch swing overlooking the Severn River that connects to the Chesapeake Bay. How? Serendipity.
Day -14 years ago: Houston, TX
As your typical awkward middle schooler, all I wanted was to belong. That meant for me best friends, invitations, and social security. But I was scared with seemingly minor yet significant moments of rejection that many others likely face as a child and adolescent. These moments left deep wounds that have in many ways fooled me into believing a lot of lies about myself. I'd go as far as saying I've been imprisoned by these wounds using them as permanent limitations that I will just always deals with, my cross to bear. I would still cautiously seek out "homes" that would for however long satisfy my longing to belong. I waited for what felt like an eternity for summer of 2005 because that was when I got to officially "join" youth group as an incoming high school freshman. That summer, a college student from Auburn University showed up to "intern" with my church's youth ministry. She was really pretty, super nice, and invited me in: Pool Tuesdays, Girls Group discussing Marian virtues, Beth Moore bible studies, etc. I always felt welcomed in her presence and like I could be myself. She even flew back to Houston the following year to be my Confirmation sponsor. My junior year of high school she ended up as our full-time youth minister, but as life went on post high school, we eventually lost touch for the most part. I went to college and then got a job, she left Houston and got married. Thanks to social media, we were still able to vaguely stay connected.
Day -29: Houston, TX
"COME VISIT US!!!!!!!!" appears on my phone moments after I posted about planning a road trip. The last direct communication we had had was 6 years prior.
Day 68: Nashville, TN---Severna Park, MD
I pull up around 8:15pm and am greeted by the sweetest little front porch welcome committee anxiously waiting for me. We spent the night filling in the holes of the last 10 years that social media missed overwhelmed by how our God is present in every detail weaving our stories so intimately together with fishing line. He is the most creative and thoughtful author. We may have "lost touch," but God's penmanship transcends the visible stories of our lives.
I am beginning to realize all these "homes" I have sought out and found security in over the years have been more like renovated Mercedes Sprinters moving me closer and closer to my true home, security, and place of belonging in our Father. #vanlife is beautiful, fun, and life-giving, but it's also difficult, messy, and lacking some essentials like bathrooms. Sometimes your van breaks down and you need to do some repairs or find a new one. But that's ok because you know you are just on your way to eternity and #vanlife isn't forever. There is freedom in knowing this and freedom begets freedom. More on that later, but for now, this is my prayer (shared with me years ago by another former youth minister).
"O, Divine Spirit, I want to be before you like a light feather that your breath may carry me where it will and I may not offer the least resistance to it."