The countdown to Launch is underway and as the hours begin to tick down I can feel the focus of my heart starting to shift away from the new and different and toward home and the more familiar.
Just like the swallows who return to the Mission San Juan Capistrano or the monarch butterflies who make their way every October to the eucalyptus trees around Pacific Grove, California I’m feeling the primal pull back to Oklahoma, the land of my roots.
T.S. Eliot said, “We shall not cease from exploration and in the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
It’s ironic. I spent the first 20 years of my adult life at the place I came of age…Avant, Oklahoma but my heart was restless for most of that time. I watched friends and family go and do, travel and explore and all while I stayed home. I felt that there were wonderful things all happening…out there just out of my reach, in other places. Of course I overlooked the obvious, the fact that there was great stuff happening right where I was.
My kinship with George Bailey made “It’s a Wonderful Life” a difficult movie for me to watch.
Then came the first move and six years in Tulsa, followed by three years on Colorado, then three years in New York and now on the Journey since Labor Day. Now looking back, the first 20 years of my career bears little resemblance to the last fourteen years…and especially the last three months.
But now my exploring is taking me full circle…I’m going home. And I’m looking forward to it as much as any adventure I’ve been on so far.
So, the question staring me in the face now is…what does the future hold? Will I continue to travel and seek out the new adventure or will I settle and find some roots somewhere?
What is that thing in all of us that causes that delicate balance between “stay” and “go?” Some want to go but are trapped (or at least feel they are trapped) into staying. Others long to stay but find themselves continually on the go. Some find all of their “go” needs are met with a simple one-week vacation.
I’ve been blessed. I’ve wanted to go and I’ve had the opportunity to go. I’ve been blessed with a wife, in Lainey, who wants to go too. This Journey we’ve been on has touched us both far deeper than either of us imagined that it would. The experiences have washed over and overwhelmed us with joy.
And now with the prospect of returning to Oklahoma we’re both wondering if we’re through traveling. Is it time to settle down?
Uh, no. I don’t think so. I’ve got more “go” in me.
We’ve seen and experienced too much to simply stop and go home. Instead of satisfying some itch, it’s only legitimized that itch and though we may go home for a time, I’m sure we’ll head out again in the future; once the delicate balance begins to waiver again and the pull to go outweighs the desire to stay.
After all, even the butterflies leave California after a while. It’s time for me to go home and “know it for the first time.”