Putting Down Roots

August 25, 2011, 2:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Some people in life are planners: they’ve got the plan for the day, the plan for the week, the plan for the next five years. They know what they’re eating for breakfast tomorrow and they know what color their bridesmaids’ dresses will be when they get married.

I am not one of those people. Two years ago I left camp on an airplane, knowing that I’d arrive in Greenville, SC and need to get to Swannanoa, NC, and had no plan of how exactly that would happen (I met someone at baggage claim–she was returning a pair of boots I’d left on the plane–who was the sister of an alumni from my college, and the two of them drove me right to my dorm). Last fall, I was the maid of honor for my high school best friend, and bought my dress at Goodwill less than 24 hours before she walked down the aisle.

And recently, people have been asking me what I’m going to do in the fall, and I have to say, “well, I’m not sure.” By “fall” I really mean “four days from now.” My contract at camp will run out, and I have to wait until sometime next week to know whether I’ll be offered a year round position here at camp, or whether I’ll be heading back down to Tallahassee to plant gardens with Nathan.

In theory, being in flux like this is exactly my element. Having long-term plans stresses me out, and leaving some space to chase after adventure is something I need to do. But, as much as I love living life without a detailed ten-year itinerary, every come I come up against one of these transition times, it throws me into a funk. I keep myself up late thinking and worrying, and I wake up in the morning feeling unsure of everything. My heart rate stays high, and I can feel the stress hormones fidgeting their way through my blood vessels.

As I was laying in bed this morning, I was feeling that sinking weight of worry on my chest like an iron cat. Instead of sitting with all the fears, and making lists in my head of everything I was unsure of, I decided to start thinking about all of the things I was sure of.

I looked around my room: on my bedside table, there were notes from other staff that I’d collected in my pockets all summer long; on my walls were encouraging signs that various friends that had snuck in and stuck up; on the end of my bed I’d hung a shirt that a friend of mine in Tallahassee just sent that says “KALE” across the front. Everywhere I looked, there were little monuments to the fact that I was loved and supported beyond what I could imagine.

I looked up at the map on my wall, a big map of America with dots on the places where all the people I love live, and dots for the places I’ve lived and been. All the dots carry so many stories. When I’m getting ready to move on to somewhere or something new, I have a way of convincing myself that it will never be as wonderful as everything that’s come before. But when I look at those dots and think about those stories, I can remember that there were wonderful things in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, just like there were wonderful things in Louisville, Kentucky, and Sumner, Washington, and Andover, Massachusetts, and everywhere else that I’ve spent a week or a year or half of my life.

We’re not promised that everything is going to stay the same, but there’s evidence everywhere that we are loved and that there is good work and good community to be had wherever we go. And so, for today, I’m going to work on being where I am, and keeping my eyes open to the little monuments that everything is going to turn out OK.


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