A few days ago, I had a strange thought. I was putting together a new stroller when suddenly two things hit me very hard. The first one creeped up so naturally, that it almost passed for a normal, reasonable tidbit before I caught it as an unlikely visitor at the doorstep of my conscious. I simply thought to myself "Hmm, I like this design. Funny to think that I could actually be doing this for my little girl one day- Wait... What?" Now, realistically, this could actually happen. At this point in my life, however, it seems so far away, and with that idea comes all the warning flags of my own looming, and at times still very present IMmaturity. From this succeeded the second big thought: "Two months ago I was discussing Sartre and Kierkegaard over a beer at my favorite pub in Oxford." Again, back to reality, while this thought is not one of those romantic daydream kind but more of a true reminiscence, right now I am putting together a stroller because I work at USA Baby. My sister, who is the manager, helped get me the job.
Stopping again to think about the interaction inside my head at that moment, I see now that this is very indicative of my current spiritual and emotional state. Earlier on in my Oxford experience, I had to do the same thing I am doing now. I had to find my place, and it took a good amount of time. Now that I am living at my parents house again, working two part-time jobs, and seeing few of the faces I had grown to love so much over the last 5 months abroad, I need to replant my roots on this side of the pond. Having pondered everything from the existence of God to the philosophical message behind the Monty Python films, my life here can seem like an old sepia tone photo in comparison to the color-rich panaromic memories of the last few months.
There is hope.
After work today I decided it would be a good idea to climb Garcia, a steep and dusty little trail a short drive from my house. It was a good idea. As I started to navigate my way through the switchbacks and valleys, I remembered that there is a cross on the top of Garcia. Fittingly, the cross is only visible during certain sections of the hike. When I finally fought my way to the top, with some sweat, soreness, and a few spills on the way, I reached the foot of the cross just as the sun was beaming her last rays over the adjacent mountaintops. Again I was hit by the profudity of the moment, but now I was the sum of all things past and present. This is the person that I want to be, and the struggle that I face. I want to synthesize my life-changing experience abroad with the things that I am learning now. Yes, building strollers and selling cribs does build character...and patience. But more importantly, it is the knowledge that while God has a plan for every one of us, we have a choice to continue on the path we are called, or to tread elsewhere. Sometimes it is easy to look up the mountainside and behold the empty cross. In the other times we must press on with faith that the cross remains.