Monday, January 17, 2011

we'll follow the Old Man wherever He wants to go

I cried a lot before, during, and after graduation. There are several pictures of me during the ceremony that my brother took across the aisle, where I'm looking despondent and sad. He thought my forlorn expression was funny. I don't remember anything the commencement speaker said, not because he was boring (which he was), but because I was graduating, and I didn't want to be, and no speaker however entertaining would have captivated my attention.

On my way to the playground at camp this summer, a woman from behind me asked if I went to Asbury. The draw-string bag with "ASBURY COLLEGE" written on the back must've given it away. I told her I had just graduated, and she said she graduated in 1991.
"Did you love it?" She asked.
"I did. I was sad to leave."
She looked very serious and somewhat absent as she said, "Yeah, the year after I graduated I was just sort of lost."
I smiled empathetically. "Yeah, I'm afraid nothing will ever be as good as college."
She looked even more absent as she said, "Hmm," and nothing more.

I was not encouraged.

I realized as I sat on my bed (which is on the floor and much closer to the spiders, I realized yesterday (and so did the spider)) that I am lost. People have been asking me, "What are you doing back in Wilmore?" And I truthfully answer them, "I don't know." I don't know what I'm doing or where I'm going. I have no goals or ambitions or ideas. I thought about that woman's words at camp and I realized I, too, in the year after graduation, am lost.

At first this realization scared me. As if I was taking a stroll with my head down, watching my feet step one in front of the other, and when I looked up nothing was familiar, and I realized I'd lost my way. And maybe night was falling, and it was getting colder, and the wind made my voice disappear as soon as I opened my mouth. Lost.

Then I started thinking of other times I've gotten lost. The time Courtney and I were in Massachusetts and took a wrong street that ended up leading us to an antique book store where I found an 1868-edition of a Louisa May Alcott novel that matched two others I owned. Or the time five of us traveled on foot in suburban Boston in search of our car, and shared a ride with a sweet old lady and an Arab named Milton on their way home from church. Or when Courtney and I had no idea where the road through the center of Concord led and ended up parking across the street from Old North Bridge, where the Revolutionary War began, and I stood on the very ground I had read about in history class.

The things you most remember about trips are the things you hadn't planned on, the things that went "wrong," the things that forced you to be innovative and creative, and made you realize it's much more fun when things aren't what you expected.

I don't know where I'm going. But I intend to enjoy it as much as I can, because one promising thing about the times I've been lost: I either always arrive home again, or someplace new becomes home to me. Either way, I come home.

“Courtney and I are most at home when we have no idea where we’re going.” – journal entry, 3/21/2009


Laura said...

I literally cannot wait for our coffee date. Love you! And it's my honor to award you with a bloggie award! Feel special! You can find it here.

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