Monday, August 5, 2013

One year in Alabama

Rain is pouring off my roof, drops matching the swift rhythm of the ceiling fan here on the porch. Summer--the last summer of my twenties--ends soon, and having lived my entire life on an academic calendar, the end of summer always feels like the end of the year. That's an especially apt feeling now, as the end of summer also marks the end of my first year in Alabama.

One year. 1/6 of the time I lived in Texas. 1/4 of the time I was at college. 1/30 of my life thus far. I've used my blog to chronicle much of what has happened in the last year: the victorious graduation that preceded it, the bittersweet departure from Texas, the rich hospitality of my colleagues and students, the quest to buy a house, the magnificent trip to Italy.

My first year in Alabama has been a festival year, a year of bounty, a year in which everything has felt so new. This is the year for which I have planned, waited, and prayed for so long.

As this year ends, my first feeling is gratitude to the God who has made me say,
"The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance" (Psalm 16:6) 
And welling up with the gratitude comes wonder. Specifically, wonder at the idea of stability, rootedness, being-here-ness.  For the first time in my life, I'm not directing my work and energy to some future place, and while I rest in this thought, I'm not entirely sure what to do with it. From kindergarten onward I was looking forward to college; in college I was deeply content but could never forget that I would have to move on one day; and in grad school I worked, lived, and loved with the knowledge that I did not come to Texas to stay. I do not mean to say that I would never leave Mobile, but I have no desire to leave, and I may never have reason to leave.

What does that mean? How do I do this well? How do I pray for the years to come? These are the questions I am asking myself on a rainy Alabama afternoon, as thunder and church bells ring out together, one year later.

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