Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Wanderer

The Wanderer, by Andrew Hay

I love to be on the move. Since leaving home for college, I have not had the same home for more than a year. I have been a resident of West Virginia, New York, Kansas, Scotland, and Arkansas. I am moving back to Kansas. For a year....maybe.
Today, I heard about a job in Taos, New Mexico that would be a blast. And Taos is beautiful. Seriously, check it out. You will want to move there. So I am not going to tell you about the job. Just in case.

I have also wanted to live in Colorado, Scotland, Africa, Guatemala, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, even Oregon lately (thanks to Bainy).

I love adventure. I love meeting new people, adding new stories to my repertoire. I have a hunger to experience the world.

But lately, that hunger has been tamed by a little something called loneliness. While I yearn to work for an orphanage in Uganda, study religion in Scotland, archive for the American History Museum in D.C., or build Habitat houses across the country, I also yearn for a deeper connection with those I love.

A great friend told me last night that he wanted me to get back "home" where he is, so that he and I can start working ministry together as we did years ago. The thought was tantalizing.

Another great friend in the same evening mentioned that if I don't settle in somewhere I can never expect to get connected, relationally or vocationally.

And it got me to thinking about a thought I had as I watched the sun set over the William Wallace Monument in Stirling, Scotland. As I watched this beautiful moment in an amazing land, I thought about how I wanted to share the experience with those that I loved. I had friends in Scotland, people who I truly cared about, but no one my heart was tied to. I wanted that. I wanted to share my adventure.

I still do. I am returning to Kansas somewhat with my tail between my legs. My Arkansas adventure left me feeling depleted, alone, empty. I have not made the connections here I usually would. I left West Virginia with friends that I contact to this day. New York was the same story. Scotland, most definately. In Arkansas, I will leave behind some great people, but the connection to the area and culture has not been made. The fault is mine.

So perhaps I have reached a point where the Great Wanderer begins to feel his solidarity. Or perhaps I just need to return to my "homebase" and get recharged. I honestly don't know. I still want to go. Still want to keep seeing, experiencing, exploring. I still want to look back 40 years from now and be able to talk about the people I have met, loved, lived amongst. I know that I will still have the itch to move.

What does it mean when the wanderer becomes the lonely wanderer? What does it mean when I can't tie myself to a place, because I am always looking back? Do I want people to support my desire to move, or to tie me down and show me a more stable way of life?

I don't know. I do know one thing. God does know. This is not a cheap cop-out. This is not me saying I will just wait, and listen, and not move until I am sure. The opposite is true. I know that I will have to keep moving, and that the only way I will be happy is if in that movement I am seeking God's plan. God's move. If I am following His path, then I will make the connections neccesary to sustain my joy. Not that I won't be lonely, but that I will at least have a purpose within the loneliness. This may not sound awesome, but it is.

I love to wander. I love to stay on the move. I suspect I always will. At the moment I am a weary traveler, but I suspect soon enough the joy will come back to life on the move. I suspect.


rachel rianne said...

haha, johnny, if i were staying in oregon, i'd be ALL for you coming out here. but im not. so for now, you should stay in manhattan. then after i graduate, i'll let you know where i'm going, so that you'll be able to come along there too.

mannn i know what you mean about not making true connections, though. i mean, you've had better experiences with community in different places than i probably have, but changes of location definitely aren't what they're all cracked up to be... and it is hard to get that sense of home and family and community wherever you go. it's sometimes not our fault, it's just the circumstances. i guess what's our fault is to think that it'll come so easy every time.

but think of how refreshing it will be in kansas again! back in a place where you rule the world and have comfort and feel like your heart is somewhat at home. many of us are so longing to wander, but so longing to find home and contentment also. darn those ambiguous feelings.

luke said...

i wrestle with a lot of those questions too, and i am looking forward to talking about that and many other things when you move to manhattan--right!?!? what's this maybe stuff? be there or else...

you don't even want to dream about what's on the other end of that ellipsis!

i also really connect with feeling at peace with wherever God has me. if home is where the heart is, then it is truly my desire to be at home with God--to have my heart hidden with him. that's whether i'm in kansas city around tons of friends and family, in another city, another country, jail (all those crimes i commit you know), the top of a mountain with a bunch of monks, you know, usual.

i think wanderers can often be the type who can go unnoticed in a new place. they have no real purpose. but john, you are a guy who brings community with you, because you bring warmth and stories and people want to gather around you. and you can take that to lots of places if it's the place for you to be. in other words, i don't think you're really a wanderer. more like a...well something else. i can't think of it now, but you know.

sara said...

i feel like there is much i could say in response to each of your entries, but i've decided that instead of yapping on your blog comment wall i am simply going to report my favorite line of each entry. by favorite i will probably mean funniest, or most poetic, or most profound, or most striking...who knows. cool? cool.
so it begins...
favorite line:
"So perhaps I have reached a point where the Great Wanderer begins to feel his solidarity."