Weeks 6 and 7 – All Things Great and Small

On the road...

Sometimes life is so big, the weight of it is crushing.  I find myself to be the smallest at the ocean.  A sea of unknown creatures, and unknown depth.  The vastness not visible.  On the beach, shells lay battered by the tide.  A brave few cling to the shore with their last moments of life, fully intact.  My little people comb through the sand and try to make sense of centuries of birth and death.  They pluck up shells and stars and find a dead jellyfish.  And they are so small that is crushes me like the sea.

And Clair De Lune.  If someone pecked that tune out for me on a beach under the starry night, all of life might make sense.  But Paris.  And Beirut.  And Kenya.  Like the shells on the shore, the boys pick out the bits and pieces they understand.  We are removed from the enormity of the crises happening, but the news filters to us on the road.  We answer question after question trying to glean some understanding ourselves.  They make me wish that life could be boiled down into the simple understanding they have of love and peace and kindness.

As we explore our corner of the world, it’s interesting to see how parts affect the whole.  How change can start with one little step, one little voice, one little person.  I love to see them picking at pieces as they search for answers about greater things.  We will spend our last few days in the south exploring more about civil rights.  Connecting current events and history sometimes creates a tangled storyline that is full of complexities and simplicity at the same time.  I find it fascinating that we can do something big and abstract like sending humans into outer space, but we haven’t yet mastered how to relate to the humans on earth.

Next we travel to:  Selma, Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, AL; Memphis, TN; then head west via Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

Week 4 – Where Stuff Gets Real

On the road...

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We’ve started to experience weather on our trip.  There have been multiple nights with freezing temperatures and our first rain in Virginia.  But that’s not the only storm we have weathered.  I’m always encouraged to post the bright, pretty pictures of our trip.  Looking at the beauty of what we’re experiencing is sort of a coping mechanism for what we’re experiencing.  When I look at pretty pictures I know there’s a back story.  I’ve done enough family photo shoots to know that one picture with eyes open, smile/ no smile, pre-tears is worth a thousand hours.  Our family is no exception.

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I hope you know we miss home often.  We wonder in exasperation why we’re doing whatever it is that day.  Everyone has thrown a temper tantrum.  Most of us have cried (I’ll let you guess who still has dry eyes although we may push him to the point).  We argue.  We have the normal navigational “discussions” that happen to husbands and wives across the globe.  There have been heels dug, food thrown, feelings hurt and words misunderstood.

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We are learning to get past the stormy weather and fixing our eyes on the sun.  We are not a perfect, happy go lucky family.  But we are scrappers out here on the road, doing what we can to make it work.  For every sunny landscape you see, you miss the family at the rest stop gathering themselves.  For every close up shot of moss or a rock or a leaf, you don’t see alligator tears or a timeout or a giant dent in the fender of the car.  It’s hard to see the forest through the trees, but you just keep driving.