As a human population, and maybe just as a woman in general, we get really good at missing things and people and places; events and seasons of our lives. I rarely sit in appreciation for a moment or a person until they are long gone. This is a terrible habit. I want to tell someone how important they are while they are in my grasp. I want to sit and appreciate a city or a town or a small book store while I’m in it.
I have eleven days left in Gearhart for my internship at Breakaway. My heart is sore for my family and my senior year of college, for the familiar smell of my room and the look of the Boise Greenbelt in the fall. But I want to be thankful.
I want to sit here in this black metal chair situated in the front of the coffee shop, By The Way, with my books and my journal and my small vanilla latte and breathe in gratitude and appreciation. I want my body and my heart to exert contentment in such a way that you can’t help but feel the same when you talk to me. I want to be present.
So I’m going to spell it out. Word for word, I’m going to write what I see and what I feel and what I am and should be bloody ecstatic for, because I’m living it and immersed in it and freely given the opportunity to witness it.
- Dogs. The amount of dogs roaming around this town without leashes. The ability to pet them all and claim them as your own, if only for the moment.
- Small town. No traffic. No stoplights. A few stop signs. One Dairy Queen. Two coffee shops. One big, big ocean.
- A three minute walk to the ocean. The dunes. The lump right before the ocean, where the water isn’t quite visible yet and all you see is the vastness of the sky, but you know the water is coming. You can smell it, you can feel the soft breeze pick up as you inch closer.
- The stars. The sky is bigger here, I swear.
- The sound of kids laughing. The sound of birds chirping. The roar of silence in the afternoon on Day 4. The sound of Amazing Grace being sang from the backyard by the Work Crew. The sound of bellowing from the club room during a skit.
- The Post Office lady who thought Haley was picking her nose. But she is pretty nice now. She’s a nice lady.
- Our yellow house. Our little room and our nighttime prayers. Our one candle and our book reading parties. The leader lounge and the couches that offer rest and a silent refuge.
- Affirmations from people who don’t affirm often. Affirmations you know are honest and real and sparse.
- The kitchen at 5:45 A.M.. The lull of the radio and the dim light spewing in from the outside.
- Fruit snacks. Snacks in general. A huge kitchen with nothing but snacks. Peanut butter M&M’s and crushed Oreos. Haley’s nightly tea. Bananas and cherries and lots of milk.
- Stomach pains and extra prayers. Reliance and obedience. Pain and faith. Rawness and tears.
- Conversations about our dreams and where we want to go. What we are working on and what the Lord is working on in us. Conversations about who we talked to today, who made us laugh a bit harder, who made our hearts swell a bit bigger.
- Old friends who have passed through. Friends we miss and friends we pray are doing big, big things.
- Road trips to Portland and bookshops. Hood River and Mel’s porch. Orchards and peaches fresh from trees. Sleepovers and late night talks.
- Letters and receiving mail. Packages and words from people we weren’t expecting love from that day.
- Five day weeks and good food. Desserts and berry cobbler on Day 2. Homemade bread and ice cream sundaes on Night 3.
- Bonfires on Night 4 and worshipping around the flicker of a flame.
- Police and dance parties. You cannot have one without the other in Gearhart.
- Karen’s backyard and abundant flowers. Her greenhouse and old stove. Her pup and her heart.
- Solitude. A five minute walk to a bench looking over what could very well be the promise land. Secret spots. No noise. No distractions. A soft breeze. Wheat blowing every which way around my feet. Pouring sand from my shoes.
- Five days without showering. Someone showering at one a.m. until four a.m. Mysteries and inclinations and personalities.
- Game night. Fish bowl. Celebrity. Family. Charades. One word. One sound. No words. Snacks.
- Intern meetings. Haley and I not ever attending meetings. Snacks from Suz and Redding and Tonester.
- The peace that comes after cleaning the kitchen on Day 5. The peace that comes when there’s no children in the lodge on night five. Movies in the club room. Lame black and white documentaries in the club room. Dance parties in the club room.
- The promise of missing all of these things. The glory found in all of these memories. The love and brokenness and restoration and redemption found in the hearts we’ve gotten to know these past weeks.
Hey, God is good.
Halleluiah and Amen.