[So, by way of prologue, this post is maybe a little different than my norm -- maybe a little more personal, maybe a little more in-depth, and maybe not something I would bother posting on my blog if life was different and more friends could have already observed for themselves the underlying themes of what I'm about to say. One of the tricky parts of a long distance relationship is figuring out how to honor the relationship and let it be a reality even when most people can't see what's going on in it.]
It's a confounding thing to me when I simply can't find the words to even begin to express what's in my heart. Yet that's where I've been for months, my mind full of different ways to begin but with no idea what to say in the middle or at the end, because it feels to me that there aren't enough words in the world for this story.
Let me begin here: When I was a child, I loved Little Pilgrim's Progress with a vast and fierce love. My parents bou…
Appropriately enough, the first time I remember hearing Jon Foreman's song Southbound Train was while Depreena and I were on the overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok.
Oh I guess they'll say I've grown I know more than I wanted to know I've said more than I wanted to say I'm headed home Yeah, but I'm not so sure That home is a place You can still get to by train So I'm looking out the window And I'm drifting off to sleep With my face pressed up against the pane With the rhythm of my heart And the ringing in my ears It's the rhythm of the southbound train.
Coming back to China for what is, in all likelihood, my last year to live here, the lyrics feel even more true. Beyond my favorite flippant answer of "wherever my phone charger is plugged in," I'm not sure how to answer when people ask where home is.
For the first time in a (very) long time, my heart suddenly feels quiet.
I'm not sure of why exactly.
Maybe having finally finished the last requirement for Wheaton and, for the first time in almost three years, not having a nagging (or screaming!) feeling in the back of my mind reminding me that I should be doing some reading or writing a response or researching something or preparing for a class.
Maybe, having lived in Sichuan for two and a half years, the incredibly (and I do mean that in the most literal possible sense) slow pace of walking has finally sunk into my body. Although I still find myself setting out from my apartment at a briskly purposeful American stride, more and more often I find that it slows to a stroll by the time I'm halfway across campus, even if I'm not hanging out with students. And I notice the irises growing everywhere, the strange patterns of ripples on the surface of the small lake on campus as ducks chase each other across the water.