“The thing about chaos, is that while it disturbs us, it too, forces our hearts to roar, in a way we secretly find magnificent.” -Christopher Poindexter
Hey y’all! So, update on my summer thus far: I finished my first week of work for the summer. It went well. To be totally honest I don’t think I have ever worked in a more functional workplace. The communication is great, the people are cool and kind, and the animals are amazing. I’ll probably talk more about this later in the summer but today I have other thoughts on my mind.
I would call myself nearly nomadic. For the last three, going on four years, I have spent eight months of the year moving between two locations: my university city and my hometown. The other four months I am… where ever the pasture is greenest, and by pasture I mean job prospects.
I haven’t spent two summers in the same place in at least three years, and haven’t lived at home for the summer since I was sixteen. To solidify my nomadic tendencies in your minds I might add that I have taken my horse everywhere with me for the last four years, until I sold her this Christmas. I am already looking forward to the next animal that will travel with me (most likely a dog, but maybe another horse, or both).
Even this summer, I am living in a different city than the one I am working in, and so my nomadic-y continues. Today I’ve been thinking about this, as I put out a call on Facebook for church recommendations in my summer city. Looking back on the week I see many instances where my roving lifestyle is apparent—using my roommates library card (because I don’t have one here), having to ask what my other roommate meant when she said “The Park”, discovering new food places, or struggling to mentally place where my coworkers are from when they give small town names to me.
Today I was telling my roommates about something I call “The Tramp Effect”. In “Lady and the Tramp” (yes the Disney movie) there is this scene where Tramp is wandering through the city looking through windows at happy families. The Tramp Effect produces a longing for that love and the community that family (biological or chosen) provides, while you simultaneously appreciate and desire the freedom being outside the window affords. As a young nomad I often feel this effect acutely.
The trouble is I exist in no place consistently enough to feel part of a community typically. Part of this is because I form relationships very slowly and typically maintain most people at arms length with very few close friends, I’m not sure if this personal distance is something I do subconsciously or something other people do to me for whatever reason. In general though, I often feel as though I am looking through a window. Those I would consider close friends/family are scattered very diffusely across my country, and a few are on other parts of the globe. I adore these people, this network of family, who I can count on should I ever turn up in their orbits.
Each move presents a difficulty though, or I suppose a choice—do I find friends in this new place, or do I just work, do me, do whatever, and not worry about it. If I find friends I might feel wanted, I might find a community, and I might love it; on the other hand, if I do me and form a few acquaintances but nothing exciting or deep, I may be lonely but I will also do many things, maybe adventurous things, because I feel the freedom to move about as I want.
This strange no ties type living, I can only say, is not bad or good. Roving simply is. Some days I find it liberating to be able to take detours, to be able to disappear and do what I want without having to think about other people, and other days a part of me questions why people don’t want to love me, or maybe what I’m doing that’s preventing them from loving me.
I guess what it comes down to is that community is important, but during your life you may have seasons (sometimes seasons that last years) of solitary roving, with those you love rotating in and out of your vicinity. I am in a season of wandering, I have been for a long time, and as I search for a new church community that I know I will leave again in a matter of months I once again sit like a Tramp outside a window loving my freedom but wondering when I will be the one inside the house.
With all this in mind I went searching for some words on wandering, so please, enjoy the fruits of my Googling.
“I was forced to wander,
having no one,
forced by my nature to
keep wandering because
wandering was the only
thing that I believe in,
and the only thing that believed in me.”
– Roman Payne
“Wander at will, day after day,
wander away, wandering still
—soul that canst soar! Body
may slumber: body shall
cumber soul—flight no more.”
– Robert Browning