how did it go so fast, we'll say as we are looking back, and then we'll understand we held gold dust in our hands...

Today, I know exactly what it is I want. I spent the day yesterday with almost all the people I love together in beautiful places eating excellent food and laughing until the tears ran down our faces. And even though I have had friends and laughter and good food and perfect landscapes all summer, finally, this time the equation was right.

Yesterday it suddenly became clear to me that the restlessness I have been feeling stemmed from the absence of these people in my life. I only see it and feel it now that I remember what wholeness is, now that I have seen all of us gathered back together again.

We know each other so well—what we love, what we hate, our families, our pasts, our faults, our tics—that when we bring to light the recent messes of our lives, we end up just laughing at ourselves and how absolutely ridiculous and silly and stubborn we all are. All our defenses come down; we have seen each other at our worst and at our best, and yet here we are still.

But what surprised me most about yesterday is how natural and organic it still feels. We didn’t get caught in the rut of catching up; it felt like living, real living. I am reminded of my reasons for staying in Santa Barbara this summer…because this community I have here is rare, and I want to live in the presence of these beautiful and wise women for as long as I can.

I stopped and looked around the room several times, tried to hold on to these fleeting moments, catch snatches of all the conversations going on around me…but they were going so fast, so naturally, without silences, no awkwardness. And for some reason, I started looking at everyone’s hair—the blacks, the reds, the browns, the blondes, the curly and the kinky and the straight and the braids and the frizz…and saw something so beautiful I got a shiver down my spine. How messy and individual and quirky we all are, but so beautiful, more beautiful together in the contrasts than we are separately.

Well, this morning, I woke to see all of my roommate’s belongings in a little corner of our bedroom, stacked neatly in three piles. So many people have been walking out of my life lately, without any promise of seeing them again in the next few years. And every time a wave of sadness washes over me for all the times I’ve been too caught up in my head to see the good that has surrounded me and embraced me so consistently these last four years.

And so I’ll say now what I never said enough: thank you, I love you, and Godspeed, my dears.

may the road rise up to meet you
ay the wind be always at your back
may the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand


come on, skinny love, just last the year...

Earlier this summer, I read a poem about envying those who have two homes:

there is always the anticipation
of the change, the chance that what is wrong
is the result of where you are. i have
always loved both the freshness of
arriving and the relief of leaving. with
two homes every move would be a homecoming.
i am not even considering the weather, hot

or cold, dry or wet: i am talking about hope.

For most of my life, these have been my sentiments exactly. Rarely have I felt the desire to remain in one place for more than a few months. My internal compass—my impatience, my fear of commitment?—pulls at me when I have been in one place too long to go somewhere, anywhere, new or well-known.

But this summer I experienced the opposite. I was living that poem, moving between home and home every few weeks. But each time I left, instead of anticipation, I felt a pang of guilt for not staying longer. It seemed I was wanted and needed more in the place I was leaving than the place I was heading for. Then I would arrive, walk through my front door, get tackled by my brothers or offered a freshly-baked lemon bar from my roommates and realize again the strange and beautiful grace of being welcomed completely, simply because I am myself and I do belong here, too.

Well, this is the season of goodbyes. Some reunions, but mostly goodbyes. And I am surprised by how callous my heart is most days, how I live in a numb stupor of routine, how my thoughts turn gray and despair takes hold when I stare up the face of the mountain called Imminent Decisions and Changes. Not because of sadness or regret or fear but out of resignation—because it’s time, because there has been so much good and to stay any longer would feel forced and fake or selfish. Something in me would rather go quickly and break all my ties so I can side-step the emotions and bypass the ceremonies, knowing I’ll be okay no matter what happens or where I’ll end up.

But honestly I think those are just my tried and true defense mechanisms clicking into place: turning to cynicism, numbness, and self-reliance instead of vulnerability, healthy emotion, and community because it’s easier that way, easier to stay neat and respectable when your heart isn’t breaking fifty times a day.

Strangely enough, I don’t want that anymore. I want the messy, the sobby and the snotty, the dirty, the abused, the sad and lonely things, and I want them to pierce my heart and constrict my breathing as though they were my own. I want the bravery to face the elusive sadness and loneliness and inferiority complex hiding deep within me, and my small, sickly, self-absorbed love to grow strong, grow wide wings of understanding, forgiveness, and grace. I want to drink the bitterness of this life, so I can taste how sweet and how good and how perfect is the love of God that covers all our brokenness.

Come, let us return to the Lord;
for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us;
he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord;
his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the showers,
like the spring rains that water the earth.