We’ve been home, now, for two months. We are being pushed in new directions and it is so much fun to have the freedom to explore. The roles we played before our trip, even the roles the children played are different. We have ownership. We are not skating through life afraid to choose. We are struggling and it’s that good kind of struggle where you can only save yourselves. The kind of struggle where you come out all the wiser for having experienced it. Long ago are the days of worry. Having a sense of dread has become so foreign. Peace found our family on the road and lingers still. We are sitting on the silver lining. Slowly, ever so slowly, we have been inching towards our new normal and a new sense of happiness.
We stop and think about our trip often. We see the places we visited on the news and we reflect. We hear about events both past and present and we put visuals with the information. We have a richer sense of the politics of our country and the lingering issues that remain unresolved. Somewhat of a surprise, we found folks experiencing the same lifestyles and sentiments in the south of Oregon as in the North of Carolina. We saw the lasting effects of the relocation of Native Americans throughout the states, and we wondered if they have been forgotten. We saw current events playing out right in front of us. As we passed by Japanese internment camps along the west coast, our current politicians debated the collection of groups of citizens. We have come so far in this nation, and remain so encumbered by our past.
There has never been a time when I felt more compelled to be patriotic. Our family was set free to roam and explore all the resources the United States has to offer. We were in need of forward thinking, and were fortunate to have been given the chance to see, really see, our country. We roamed across this nation stitched together by innovation and construction and imagination. We were able to step outside of our every day and see more clearly how our forefathers raised us up as a nation of quilt makers. Somehow our patchwork fabric holds strong despite the mismatched pieces. We got to see if first hand. We got to learn at the foot of a mountain and the base of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. We saw the antebellum south untouched and the seeds of tall, tall trees spread to the wind. This nation is a lighthouse for us all. A beacon in hard times. A place to weather storms. To gather and to scatter. What an amazing education we received when we stopped to appreciate the earth beneath our feet. Wherever that was. From sea to shining sea.
There must be something we can glean from this trip in our lives at home. If nothing else, we can make hard choices. Right and wrong are secret words for fixed mindset, but we are growers. We will fail and start over. We are the living examples to our children of a life lived, not observed. Whatever injustice we have caused we can set a right path. We are misinformed so we must search for answers. The key to feeling home in our locality and our nation is opening up dialogue not closing it off. We are responsible for our own behavior. We are safe. We have people who will pick us up when we shoot for the moon and bust out. We are a nation of neighbors. We are the Larry Squares and the KOA hosts and the gypsies in the desert and the park rangers and the beach campers and the Redwoods and the canyons. We are of this land, and it is home.