Having climbed into my very own bed at not-quite four AM Pacific daylight time this morning, after an excruciatingly long day which began with a swim in a pool, included lunch at a sushi bar in Plymouth, MA, stalled in traffic heading toward Logan airport, stalled for even longer in Denver when a flight was delayed by two ridiculously long hours, I'm not merely exhausted, but seemed to have picked up a summer bug. Complete with swollen glands, a sore throat and aching limbs from one side to another. I can't believe I'm still awake to be writing about it.
But one thing leads to another and here I am at 11:30 at night when the house is quiet, the black and white Springer contentedly sleeping on our bed, and finally, finally a little space to call my own.
That's the thing about visiting: unless one goes to a deserted isle, it's almost impossible to find alone time. And since deserted islands are few and far between on a planet where every sqare mile has been searched out and plotted, it's pretty hard to find the solitude so necessary to find myself again.
Tuesday morning (I was far too tired to finish this last night!!!):
And though I need, and crave solitude to commune, relate to, and find myself in our Triune God, the whole truth is that I'm not quiet by nature. And by that, I mean that my siblings would call me an extravert. BB was a little flummoexed when, on the very first day of my visit, I tried to engage the gas station attendant in conversation as innocuous as the weather. It's just NOT the done thing in that neck of the woods so to speak. But, because I'm a slow learner, it wasn't the last time I tried. I just couldn't help myself. It's just that I was raised that speaking to the clerk attending a person is a curtousy part of the human condition. And that not to was just plain disrespecful. I just couldn't bring myself to walk away. I think I felt too much responsibility.
I am, however, a creature molded by the cultural climate in which I was raised. I'm used to and comfortable with the eye-contact that leads to interaction that leads to moments of great words between complete strangers. In stores, on streets, even between cars at stoplights on occasions. Life out here is made up of such moments. People don't walk around in self-imposed bubbles large enough to house their entire family. It unnerved me to encounter. I walked into such bubbles, bounced off them often enough to bruise myself. My NE relations and near-relations tell me that life is spent at a faster pace 'out east', as they call it. But I gazed at the old houses, thought of the communal living necessary to build such homes--to build such a democracy as this--and I wonder if our ancestors would be as mystified at what has become of their collegial spirit as I am. Those who build Plimoth and Jamestown and Philadelphia and Boston and all the places between may have been strong-minded but they were also together in this venture. They had to be. Shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors. Calling out to them as they passed, spending nights with any who had a fire going along the road. No, the bubbles came later. The head down, don't speak to those around you, hurry along to the next task, keep moving, just-keep moving came with industry and Manifest Destiny and the rise of our sense of being a Super Power and political accumen in this world. And I wonder if we haven't lost something of value and worth in the process.
Something God intended. Something He set up from the beginning, calls us to in Genesis when He tells Adam it is not good for him to live alone, repeats in Acts where the first believers shared all things in common. In first Corinthians, we are called the Body of Christ. The very Body. The intentionality of these words strikes me. A body has no choice but to work together. It does so without thought, of course. There is no consciousness of the work between head and any other portion--unless something important is severed. When the head is cut off from the rest of the Body, the body does not work. Paralysis occurs. Everything stops. Freezes up. And I wonder if this is what has happened in our country. I wonder if the closed off way we live (and now I'm talking about ALL across this land) has happened because we've broken off from the head. And now we're paralyzed. No wonder Washington cannot get anything done. No wonder things fail all across the board. We're cut off, flailing. We need our head. We need the nerve from brain to limb to tell us how to move. We're lost without it. Living--this whole lost nation--in a bubble we've created around us. We need each other, but more than that, we need Him or we're all lost.