Going Back

So I’ve moved away from Seattle.

I’m okay with this for a number of reasons. I’ve sat through my fair share of traffic. I had a moment in the car this summer, parked on the freeway, where I looked around at all the commuters with indifferent expressions and thought, Oh my word. I don’t think I consider this a massive waste of time anymore. I’m actually, truly, one of those people who considers it completely natural to wile away my life in my vehicle, and I’m not even depressed about it…

It was a poignant moment, my friends.

I burned through two whole cars this summer. As I watched the tow truck wheel away car #2 to the junkyard, again I had thoughts, and they went something like, screw this. I’m buying a bike. 

It was painful leaving the life I had cultivated for the past two years. I had good friends, a solid church family. I just miss Washington in general, too. I’ll miss driving over Lake Union every evening on my way home, and I’ll miss my breath catching at the sight of the Olympics and Cascades, Mount Rainier. I’ll miss the lights of Seattle made brilliant by cloudless, black nights. So many things clutter my heart in regard to that place, and I think that’s why I left. It was growing too comfortable. Too dear. I had to start running again.

So I moved back home. It’s been good. It’s quieter here. There’s no bustle and fuss of the city overpowering your senses, making you lose track of what’s important. I had forgotten that I come from a big family, and that I unconsciously crave human interaction, even if it’s simply knowing that someone else is at home, and that I’m not alone.

My sister and brother in law invited me along on their weekend getaway. They run their own business selling their wares. Kevin is an excellent engraver, and also designs beautiful Celtic knot-work designs. You can check out some of his stuff HERE. Staying true to his Scottish heritage, they travel around the Northwest setting up their booth at Highland Games. It’s been awesome camping out with them in their giant box truck, feasting on cold chicken and potato chips, serenaded all day by bagpipes and the sweet, constant whine of  Kevin’s dremel. This weekend we traveled to Yachats, OR, for a Celtic music festival. My neighbor was a guy named Shane who was selling, and demonstrating, didgeridoos. Celtic? Probably not. Interesting? Heck yes.

Our first morning we picked up some coffee and sat on a bench overlooking the ocean. As I stared out onto the familiar waters of the Pacific, I emotionally exhaled. It wasn’t so much that I was carrying such a heavy burden…no. I have a good life. The yolk I carry is light. But in the midst of moving, of contemplating the purpose of my life, hearing the sound of the waves crashing against themselves and the unforgiving rocks was like someone familiar slipping their fingers though mine and holding my hand. It was just nice.

It was so good, and I thank my Father for it.

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Day 30 (Giving thanks)

My brother, John, wrote this shopping list for my mom.

At first I tried to figure out why olives are at the very top because who needs olives for Thanksgiving? People kept talking about it all day, and I couldn’t figure out why, and they told me it was just because people like…olives. People that are not me. But I’m glad they’ll make somebody happy.

And I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what MS meant. MS? The disease. What?

“Maple Syrup,” John said matter-of-factly.

Maple Syrup will forever in my heart be called MS. Forever.

And as I admired the interesting doodles that accompanied ‘the list,’ and I listened to the Christmas music my dad holds off from playing until November (Oh, Nate King Cole. I will be yours truly, always), and made pie, and found myself in the middle of a mini LaBrasseur Family Reunion, losing to my 8 year old brother at chess, winning against my 18 year old brother at Peggle, laughing hard with my sister (who’s one of the only people that gets me), and welcoming said sister’s fiance into the huddle as I challenged him to eat three mandarins simultaneously, which he accomplished with aplomb (not), and at fudge and ice cream, and played backgammon with my old man, prayed with my mom…

What is there to be said when words cannot suffice? How do I articulate such intangible things as receiving a hug from your big brother, or pressing out pie crusts with your dad, and being happy? Life hasn’t been easy this past year. I could fill tomes with my words, but they need not be said. No one needs to read those; they need to know that God is good, and that he loves us– that I’m waiting to go home. To enter the gates of Glory where God will catch all my tears in palms that could contain all the oceans, call me by name with a voice that birthed the stars in the heavens, and come home.

But, for today, I can wait.

We will shop for olives and Maple Syrup, play endless games of Apples to Apples, and we will wait. And today I will find joy in the gift of a thankful heart.

Day 19 (The Batwa Dance)

Do you remember what I wrote last night? While I was in my post-work stupor, feeling sentimental and wistful? I said I wanted to write beautiful things. I wanted my writing to point to beautiful things. I want to write little Batwa boys dressed in oversized, violet blue sweaters in Africa, dancing to the music of his tribe. If I could choose to write something, I would write this. But things like this can hardly be written. It makes my heart skip a beat to fathom all this entails.

Music, God created that. And He created family, and made our bodies capable of dancing, and made our hearts glad at the prospect of doing all of it together at once. He made the desire to know other peoples, the desire that provoked that man to travel across the ocean and film a remote pigmy tribe in Africa.

He made Africans, and He loves them, and I love Him and them.

And every time I think I’m over it, that I’m finally done with the heartache, I discover a rock. So I turn it over and find things underneath. Like this: