lump.

I cry every time I come back. It usually starts as a lump in my throat about a day or so before my scheduled departure. The first one, or two, or ten times the reasons for the rising and the welling were obvious; what I was leaving behind, versus what I had to return left me justifiably mourning, terrified, angry. But now, still, the lump remains, the tears still brimming. The ‘why’ a little more evasive. I hesitate to write that to not sound dismissive of my home that does exist in Waco.

I guess at its most simplest, it continues to be a matter of what I leave and to what I return. It all seems so much more complicated now; love is not involved on one end, and what feels (felt) like misery has retreated on the other. But this feeling of imminent dread manifests every time I’m set to board a plan back to Waco, which clearly is not at all a true reflection of the life I have and the friends that are my family in Waco.

But still, I battle this constant feeling of restlessness.

I almost left. Almost turned my back completely. And did not decide to stay in Waco and at Baylor lightly. I chose this place, this life, this program–chose it multiple times, and do have faith that I belong where I am, doing what I am doing. I feel lucky to have a faith community and to have good friends. That restless part of me–the part that continues to refer to Waco as “home for now”–grabs hold when I travel away, when I’m in place that feels more like me, and with the people that know me and have become a part of who I am. This makes me realize that in some way I am a little less myself in this restless time. Though I can’t fully explain it, I suppose being restless and being ready for the next thing is ‘normal’–so normal it’s cliche.

In spite of it all, every time I return. And find another part of me in another place to call home.

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serendipity

I bought my ticket to go home for Christmas. After debating the dates in my head and with my dad–do I use Waco as my starting point, but not come home until Christmas Eve, or do I save some money, leave from Dallas and have a few more days home? If I waited and left from Waco it would certainly be “easier”: free parking, a 10 minute drive to the airport, use less gas, don’t have to bother any other people with my plans, blah blah blah. But there’s the stress of traveling on a holiday (or holiday-eve). If I leave out of Dallas it saves some money now, and I’ll get to be home for a bit longer. (“Get” to be home–as if that were the main objective…ha. But I digress.) So I was looking at the flights and it would have been the same price to fly out on either Dec. 20 or 22 (but not 21. Go figure.) Either way I figured I’d come back on the 30th. Back in time for Waco-Rockin’-New-Years-Eve. I chose the 20th. No real logic.

That was this morning.

This afternoon the hidden logic revealed itself. I checked the mail and the lone item in the box was Over the Rhine’s Live From Nowhere, volume 3. At long last. I knew it would be later than promised. For good reason. And I knew they promised something ‘extra special’. They did not slack this time. Enclosed with my copy of the album was a ticket for me and one guest (or me, my spouse, and my children. cool.) to come to the Christmas “gathering and acoustic performance” in Cincinnati. December 21. I did not know OtR’s schedule when I bought my ticket. Nor did I know that I would get in for free. I will be home in time for the show, and I will bend over backwards to be there. (Which, after yoga today, is much more a threat than a promise.) Now, who gets to be my ‘guest’?

Thanks Karin; Thanks Linford. See you in December.

motivation

It is hot. Duh. Hot. Tomorrow at 4 p.m. it is going to be 104. At least. And, really, this is nothing new. One hundred degree (all day) heat has been pretty much the norm this summer. Not that one gets used to ‘normal’ around here.  Instead of using negative words like ‘oppressive’, ‘ridiculous’, or ‘disgusting’, to describe our environs, I’m using the term ‘motivating’.

Texas heat motivates me to get out of Texas. I’m going to Scotland.  I have frequent flier miles. And friends in Scotland. So I’m going.  I cashed in the miles, and got my ticket for November. I’m going to celebrate Thanksgiving in Aberdeen with good friend from seminary, Alisa, and hopefully also see Donovan, another dear PTS friend–I’m either going to make him come up to Aberdeen, or give in and go down to St. Andrews for a bit.  I hear murmurings of other misplaced patriots in the UK.  My passport has been lazy and needs a workout. So, yeah.

The hotter it gets, and stays, the more I realize that I have to get out of here. The summers here are just not good for me (or my interactions with others). Perhaps that sounds a tad dramatic, but consider it reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder. I need some rain, some grey, some clouds, some cold.  Therefore, my logic tells me that excess heat equals motivation to finish comps, write dissertation and find a job as far north and as close to water as I can possibly get.