Hooray for the red, white, blue. It's the fourth of July, and I'm grateful to be home safely in America. We returned earlier from the mother-in-law's farm where she jumped up to heat up food, pour me water, retrieve a cucumber, throw a book about vinegar remedies under my nose, find matches for our family firework's display. She runs me ragged, makes me feel old; however, it was exceedingly nice to be taken care of by a mother. I am blessed.
So, home. I'm finally making rightful adjustments from the Europe trip. However it took the following to emotionally set me right again:
2) intense prayerful journaling
3) unload of unhappiness on a couple of friends
4) resolution of hope with a couple of friends
5) reparation talks with my husband
6) blueberry pie baking
7) church friend hugging and hand squeezing
8) an outstanding sermon
9) an intent of personal and marital counseling
It's just that the Europe trip set off something larger inside of me that left me unsettled in intense longing for more adventure, less responsibility, more variety, less of the same. I'm ashamed to admit this because I work very hard at focusing on my good, my space. Yet some things trip me hard, and I lament where I am and who I've become. I become wrapped in longing and restlessness once more.
However, the trip in itself was wonderful and dreamy. I have wanted to go to Europe for over 20 years (French minor, English major, come on now) and because of circumstances, put the desire on a shelf, minimizing it. I wondered how finally I would find Europe, given maturity, distance, realism. Well, I found it to be amazing and wonderful, a sensory bonanza. From boating down the Seine and seeing the sunset over Notre Dame to floating down the Rhine through the wine valley, our group ooohed and ahhh-ed during perfect lovely excursions like these through our two week journey.
For example, Lake Lucerne in Switzerland was incredible, beyond description. I walked by the lake, finding some rare alone time, and just soaked in the beauty of the water, mountains, flowers, clear air. When I sat on a bench to think, a hatted old German/Swiss man toddled up to sit by me; we tried to speak but couldn't, so we sat there together, amazed, full, having travelled. Momentary life companions.
Paris: bakeries, baguettes, les chiens. The Eiffel Tower sparkles initially at sunset to the cheer of the people who worship it. I worshipped it for a while, amazed at how it punctures space, stands tall, proud, beautiful, welcoming to the climber, the lover. The Arc de Triumphe at night, wow. Looking below at the Champs Elysees's lights, I wanted a proposal to be whispered in my ear. It was all exceeding romantic and lovely and breathtaking, even though a monument to war. When we walked through the cobbled courtyard at Versailles, I marvelled at how I walked in the steps of those vain ambitious courtiers whose grumblings forecasted the later events at the Bastille (which we walked below on another jaunt). It amazed me to see buildings still standing from long ago centuries. It struck me how modern my own world is. I felt like life would continue still, despite terrorism threats, despite rumors of the second coming. I guess I felt a surge of humanistic pride of certainty in our life forms. A bit illusionary, I know. Yet Europeans probably live more fully with this than we do. Helps to explain a difference in worldview.
Amsterdam with its bikes and canals surprised me. We stayed in Harlem, and one morning, another woman and I walked 10 minutes (pass sex and cannabis shops) to stare up at Corrie ten Boom's home. I was filled with awe and imagined Corrie organizing girl groups in that same neighborhood or being captured by the German soldiers who finally crashed in to destroy her family. I was there, a part of it, walking on the same bricks. I touched as much as I could for transference. Amazing.
Those were some of the 'place' highlights of the trip; I mention nothing now of the relational highlights made on the trip which were also jewels, yet filled my restless nature with longing afterwards. I had to journal lots (and still must) to know what constitutes my center, my core. These journals helped me cry out and be found once more and comforted. How could I ever stray from his blessedness? I would tear myself up to find him again if I ever dared to forfeit Christ as my stay. I'm too unreliable for anything more, I know this more now. To the breast I go, repining restlessness. I can only be rooted in the identity of his divinity.
So, Europe was both amazing and troubling. My perspective has changed. Life has become both pluripotent and static. I'm still needing more clarification to not be vague. I'm limbo-living a bit at the moment.
But, it's good to be back and to be alive. I'm grateful for all of it.