I went for a walk this morning. The world is coming back to life in shades of green. Perhaps if I tried hard enough, I could fly.
I may have looked a little crazy, muttering prayers as I walked. That’s okay, I’m used to looking different, even crazy. Maybe I am crazy. Certainly it feels that way sometimes, as though there is a zoo inside rather than just a girl. The elephants won’t shut up. And the gibbons! Oh the gibbons.
We started school at our house four weeks ago. It’s the Thai way, to start again after the holidays of April, which is the hottest month. May was hot as well, but we lived through it and now I walk in the cool mornings and stare at the tamarind fruit in the trees by the road. The trees are tall, too tall for fruit picking, but I imagine flying up.
I thought of starting another school year and all it means. With homeschool it’s possible to get caught up ticking boxes, or to get overwhelmed and I like to remind myself of what I believe about learning every year. The future isn’t an endless parade of days. I whisper these words to myself in the mornings, I say them out loud to the kids: To play, to learn, to explore thoughts and ideas, to read new stories and write new stories, to learn how to express and how to listen. To dream and make things together, to discover what life is really about, how things work, and what things lift the heart. To explore and grow, to do good in the world and care about others because we have learned something about them.
It beats ticking boxes, though we do that too.
I’ve been having trouble with my neck lately, the old accident wound that still bothers me, thirteen years later. More trouble than usual, but it makes me realize that maybe there’s a word for my type of pain, and maybe that word is chronic, which is a scary word. But using that word doesn’t mean anything different from what I already experience, does it? It’s another sort of meditation; on the body and pain and what can happen outside of pain, what pain cannot control. Paul, a writer in the Bible, calls the body a tent. And though I work from my tent, I run and walk and exercise and eat will, I will not have it forever. And I am very brave.
And perhaps it is pain, perhaps it is four years of being here, but I am restless. I feel a longing for something that feels like home, though home is here. Maybe it is the forested islands of BC that I long for. But if I was there, I know I would long for Thailand, for Asia. This great discontent is another sort of meditation. My home is in God, my home is in God, my home is in God. My home is in the great, otherworldly Being who shapes mountains, who is the force behind the feeling of belonging, who lifts and soothes and challenges. He is my home. I belong in him. I am in his story.
Ro guided a Devotion Circle about beauty the other day. We talked about beauty and what it is and what it guides us to. We thought about beautiful things. I shared the prayer that Leafy prayed, “Thank you God for creativity, curiosity, and the soothing taste of water.” —one of my favorite prayers ever. I think now of the light in the garden, of Leaf when she wears her bamboo basket to pick basil or chard from the veggie patches, of the birds in the morning, of the painting Kenya made for me, of Isaac’s crazy smile, of China playing the piano, of the fact that we can talk to God and he leans in close to hear us. There are so many beautiful things, more than I can count. I whisper them to myself in the morning, I say them out loud to my friends. It makes me imagine that I will become comfortable with the zoo, perhaps, even the gibbons doing all their gibboning.