the land of cobblestones & bacon chips

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

She emerged from the land of cobblestones and bacon chips, blinking at her old world with eyes born anew.

She’d left her old world with expectations and hopes, following the flickering torchlight that left shadows dancing on the walls of the stone cold castle in which she had resided for nine months. It had been hard—a land full of plenty, but the walls and moat that had encapsulated her had nearly swallowed her whole. There was a world out there, she knew, but she couldn’t see it.
When the opportunity came to leave, she hardly dared believe it. When she was able to take the chance, she did. 
She left.

When she landed, it was lush and green, a contrast against the gray from which she had come. It was alive, vibrant, crackling.

The people fed her. The conversations, the interactions—they were exhausting, and sometimes she emerged with a sore throat from all the talking, but they fed her in ways that she didn’t know. People had these kinds of conversations? She’d always wanted them, but she’d never had them. And now that she was having them, she didn’t think she could ever go back to banal phrases and monotone words, sounds that lacked meaning or depth because no one knew how to speak differently.
If people were the same everywhere—if the human nature was consistent—then surely people at home could act in such a way, with clarity and response. She would just have to initiate it. And now that she knew how to, she could. But she had to find the courage.

The building was a triangle shape, so that the snow would slide off it more easily in the wintertime, but in the summer it was more of a decorative outerwear, two slanted pieces of wood that always had open windows sticking out of the sides, a squat little home that housed a hundred people for a week. Kids poked their heads and legs out onto the roof, went sliding down the metal slats when it was warm and the night was young. They taught each other how to dance and laughed and talked, even with the language barrier that was invisible and solid, tangible to all.

She learned how to smile and to hug, to push through it all even if it felt awkward to her, even if she felt helpless or useless because she couldn’t get past the barrier, no matter how hard she tried. They gave her gingerbread cookies, partially coated in hard white sugar glaze, and a bar of soap that smelled good. They let her make mistakes, and she allowed herself to make them, and God let her make them because she needed to learn.

She felt feelings again, feelings she wasn’t sure she could feel again, especially because she hadn’t felt them in three years, and it was strange, but it was nice. And, when they went nowhere, she was satisfied. Waiting was a part of life, she discovered. She just had to sit back and trust God that it would all work out in the end. 

Joy was her main harvest. Joy in the tears, joy in the emotions, joy in the triumphs, joy in the sorrows. Joy was singing hymns in the rain with others by a blazing campfire that somehow kept going, even through the storm; joy was roasting sausages over the campfire until the fat rolled off the sides into the flames; joy was tearing through slices of bread with her teeth, soft, almost sweet, complementing the saltiness of the sausage.

Joy was waking up at six-thirty in the morning every day so she could go downstairs to read Psalms with her other team members—worship and fellowship. Joy was staying up late, sharing bad driving stories, laughing at nothing in particular, laughing at everything and everyone, making fun of herself. 
Joy was staring out the window, listening to Jon Bellion, thinking about love and God and everything that was happening with the world—the bad stuff, the horrible things that had happened back home while she was gone, and their place in history—and everything that was happening with her. But even when she wasn’t happy, she had joy.

At the end of the last week, she walked around the big city with the rest of them, staring at the buildings and feeling the cobblestones under her feet with every step she took. They ate gelato in flavors weird and conventional; they rowed in boats and observed and talked about life and love.

And, at the end of it all, miles away from the place she’d gone and one step closer to the only world she’d ever really known, she contemplated things, writing them out, but it didn’t feel right writing it from her own perspective. Sometimes third person is what you need, even if it feels pretentious, writing from someone else’s perspective, examining yourself, spilling words on the page with earbuds in your ears that transmit no sound, with scattered bacon chip crumbs at your fingers and your family speaking in fake British accents to one another in the background.

Post a Comment

© RACHEL SEO. Design by FCD.