I had to take a bit of a break after the last leg of my trip. There were a couple of reasons for this. As I started to take on a more active role in planning the activities on my trip, there was less and less time to actually write about it. It was a little sad. I would begin a post, only to let it languish, forever buried in the draft doldrums of the blog separated from release by one little point of metadata. In the mean time, I watched my mother experience the real joy of traveling to a place she would have never been able to go. Many of my posts still lie in the doldrums, begging for resurrection. I can assure you that I will get to them slowly. Now that I have had some time to process what I observed in my travels, the content will be much better polished.
Also, when I returned from the trip I fell ill. Very ill. Even as I crossed back over into the states, I ached from within. What I thought was simply a longing to be home gradually spawned a fever. When I walked through the door, the fever relegated me to the couch and continued to sap all energy until it blossomed into a pain in my lower leg and ankle. The leg pain put me on notice, and I ended up in the emergency room on iv antibiotics.
For some, that occasionally the way it is with travel. When trying to take in all of your surroundings, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. Only now that I am rested up, can I expound on that thought. There is this element of moving through new places that makes you forget where you came from. You are forced to divert your attention to the present because you have never seen it. It is a bittersweet release of everything you know in exchange for the newness of the unknown. The distraction from yourself is intoxicating. Everything you normally take for granted is replaced with something new. It is exhilarating to leave your world behind for a time being. Escape.
That temporary diversion creates a problem when you finally return home. The time you spent in the present was so intoxicating that you long for it to continue. You are woke. You begin to realize that it wasn’t your surroundings that were holding you back, after all. It was your response to them. What you think about the world around you either drives or limits your behavior. How you interact with the world and your willingness to explore is what either hampers you or severs the chains that have been holding you back all along.
Maintaining a Change
I’m not necessarily an activist. I want look at the world around me with new eyes every day. Like everyone, I will struggle to maintain that vision now that I have returned home. I am thankful for my little corner of the world and my trek to arrive here. I don’t think that I am different from anyone else. I have stumbled through harsh storms and over jagged rocks to appreciate the things that truly build others up. I appreciate how frail we are as people. How temporary our lives are. I understand how one harsh word can tear down a person and how one harsh person can be the difference between achieving something great and failure.
I have also become even more thankful for what makes the United States special. At the root, it is our ability in this country to talk about the things that are happening without fear. Our freedom to talk about those beliefs and solicit effective change. Our inclination to be passionate about the beliefs we have and long for a time when we both retain our freedoms and prevent the permanent loss of those freedoms at the hands of those who wish to take them.
Make no mistake, that is what makes this a great country. We can speak and move freely. With that ability, it becomes incumbent upon all of us to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, to truthfully echo the faint voices of the afraid without an agenda. It becomes incumbent to speak the truth without the intent to destroy others, but speaking to guide, encourage, and correct. It is those who have been trained and disciplined by experience who produce a harvest of righteousness and peace.
What uniquely lifts my spirit is to see others find the success that elevates their own.