Three Months Gone

Today begins our fourth month as nomads.

I’ve struggled to determine how best to talk about this experience.  My default approach has been not to.  Or at least, not as I’m naturally inclined to.   Rather, I’ve blogged separately about our travels, mostly just documenting the who/what/where/when/why/how of each day of our travel, with pictures.
Once upon a time it was fashionable for the well-to-do to embark on a continental voyage when they reached a certain age or station in life.  Often it was religious in nature – at least ostensibly.  Visits to shrines, pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land, that sort of thing.  There is a corpus of writings that deal with these sorts of travels.  Some of them focus simply on the daily routines and destinations – today we did this and saw that.  Other times the writings were more reflective on the journey and experience as a whole.  
I’ve opted mostly for the first.  And yet there seems like so much that ought to be said.  So much that rattles around the insides of my head as I fall asleep each night – often on a different bed or piece of ground than the night or week before.  The cities begin to blur together.  Where am I driving around again?  What day is this?  Where are we headed next?  What is the impact of spending a quarter of a year on the road?  What should I be learning other than patience on the road and with my family?  What is this preparing me for, and if I don’t know what I’m being prepared for, how can I know how to focus myself?
We’ve seen or stayed with almost 20 different sets of family or friends spread out from one coast to the other and back again.  I can’t describe the joy and excitement of hearing my children squeal out loud “We’ve been there!  We’ve seen that!”  when an image of the White House, or the Capital Building, or the Statue of Liberty flashes on a screen.  I get dismayed at times to think how much of what I’ve seen I won’t remember.  How much of the little details will get lost in the blur of just keeping organized.  
This is the nature of life – we forget how much we have, how much we’ve had.  The blessings heap up into mounds that bury us until we forget what it might be like were they not there.  We hold on as tightly as we can and most things slip out the cracks between our fingers. 
Perhaps the lesson lies in simply being.  Being present.  Being ready.  Being open.  Being thankful.  Being watchful.  So much of our life is focused on the future and what we hope will happen and what we fear will happen.  So much of the moment falls away unnoticed.  I’m still very guilty of the former.  I still wonder and dream and pray about any number of possible futures.  But I hope I’ve learned at least a smidgen more about how to be.  Here and now, and later there and then.  Regardless of where there is and when then is.  

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