June 5, 2005


According to Mary Wertsch's Military Brats, the bone-deep restlessness of military children is one of our defining traits as adults. This is not always a desire to travel, though it can be that. It is a desire to pick up, leave an old place behind completely, and move to a new town for a new start. This is very true for me. I have the travel bug is something fierce. I LOVE to travel - to see new places and experience new customs. But it's more than an itch to sightsee. My greatest passion (with respect to travel) is to learn a new culture. The little nuances of each new community. What makes it tick. Where do the "locals" hang out, where do they go. What does their life look like? For the most part I can satisfy my Wanderlust by visiting friends and family that are scattered across this country (or the globe). But every now and again there swells up within me this intense and maddening feeling of being trapped in the same place. Stuck. Much as I imagine someone stuck in a quagmire (woo-hoo 7th grade vocabulary) might feel.

I am definitely going through one of those times now. It's all I can do to get up each day and do exactly as I've been doing and see no end in sight. I feel myself rebuilding some of the walls I've started tearing down with friends because "it's time." You had two choices when it came to friends and moving. First, you never quite let down all your guard, because you knew you'd be moving in a short time and the less you let people in the less it hurt to leave. Or, You became so numb to the leaving that if just ceased to bother you when you left people behind. They were going to forget you in a short time anyway. I got to be very good at figuring out what kind of friend people would prove to be. Within a week of knowing someone, I can very confidently tell you who will keep in touch, who won't, who will return a phone call - though they may never initiate one - and who lives life as "out of sight, out of mind." I still torture myself with a few friendships that I knew going in wouldn't survive a move, but for some reason I still try to keep in contact, and I still get disappointed when they don't respond.

Growing up you always knew it was time to move when you ran into people you knew at the grocery store or at a gas station. I'm ready for the next chapter, the next place and not sure what that's going to look like, or if I'm going to get to go anywhere. So I turn to God, to bring me contentment in my heart where I am.
At times like this, my natural tendency is to avoid people, or push them away - I'm learning that this self-imposed isolation really needs to be filled with lots of time in the Word and in prayer. Otherwise, I contemplate doing something like quitting my job and moving somewhere I don't know anyone. It's not so much that I want to run away - which is what some people who don't understand think - it's more running to the familiar. You see, for a brat, moving often seems like the ONLY constant in your life. It can become an addiction - a need, or perhaps it's more of an expectation in life. Living in one place for any real length of time doesn't enter into your consciousness. How do you do that? It's as foreign of a concept as "Sweet Tea" is in China.

Once, in high school, I was talking to my Government teacher (okay, that didn't happen just once, but this particular time) She was explaining about a friend who had a job opportunity in a town 20 miles away. But she'’d have to leave where the town where she lived and where her parents and grandparents were. I couldn't understand the problem. She'd be an easy drive away from her family, and the job had innumerable benefits. My government teacher - realizing that I wasn't understanding the dilemma responded "Oh, I forgot, you'’re part of the gypsy population." And walked away. At the time I didn't really know how to react, so I just laughed. Now, I laugh really hard. I still don't understand (I can't grasp) the point of view that was apparently so obvious to them. But I understand more of WHY I don't understand it.

No comments:

Post a Comment