The cold post of the bunk pressed against my cheek as one of the boys shows me the music he’s been enjoying lately, downloaded to the sim of his flip phone. There’s sadness in his usually dancing eyes and I don’t know why. Ask, and he shakes his head. So we continue to listen to the sounds of Bollywood mingled with the rush of the rails. The next day he was gone, having left without a word to return to his fears and emerge a conqueror. After four tries and running away three times, he finished his Discipleship Training School in India.
Feet dangle hundreds of feet above the Ganges, hands gripping the door. The train stretches out on either side. From each window there’s smiling faces of the boys we were serving on the right, strangers’ contemplations on the left. Everything was grey and green and misty and alive.
Staring out the window, I see his face walking up, like I had dreamed would one day happen so many nights as a little girl, staring out that same window. The plumeria danced in the wind above him, his hair swaying to the same music. What joy it was to finally be in the same place at the same time. As the morning light caught his eyelashes, we met at the door to go on the picnic which would change both our lives forever.
Sitting in the green chair from the thrift store, the first piece of furniture either of us ever truly owned, His Words opened on my lap, sun smiles on the mint flowers given by a sister who had no idea the act she was doing for the Lord. In those flowers I saw His eyes illuminating everything that had passed and was that I could not understand. The struggles of marriage. The pain of seeing too much in all the wrong places- in yourself, even. The sugar of betrayal from one you thought would always be close. The furnace of making a home. The insecurity of young friendship, and the stars of acceptance. The galaxies of what it means to truly love and be loved, asking nothing in return. The sparks of discovering home may never be a place anymore, but will always be the gold in his chocolate eyes.
Feet propped on a coffee-colored chair. White windows meet at a corner as the peach tea flows down my throat. It is miraculous the moments a single song can tie together, crossing years and emotions. Waiting for the one who makes my home to arrive, learning what it means to grow through dirt and allow the nutrients to replenish the soul without the weight crushing down in the process. It’s so easy to think we know it all from our little corners of perspective.
I wonder what he was thinking, as he knew the week was coming to a close and the group of people he had lived with for two weeks now would never be seen by him again; that he was returning to a journey he had never been able to complete; that this time he would. I wonder what the women a few cars down thought as they watched the pale legs clad in Colombia hiking boots now so coated in dirt the original shade is indistinguishable stick out the door, pink and blonde hair whipping her face. I wonder what the flowers thought as they saw two kids, young and in love, smile through glass without words. I wonder what stories that old chair has carried, tears besides my own soaked into its welcoming plush. I wonder what the woman across the street in the tribal shirt and tattered skirt is thinking as she walks her bike across the intersection. I wonder all the lives walking into their purpose at the moment I write these words- all the lives missing it in this instant by a seemingly small choice but which would define their destiny. I wonder why these words pour themselves out as the branches dance in the wind, like blood through my fingertips requiring release.
We can never know fully what is on the horizon. I think if we did, it would steal half the joy and excitement. In this interim time, caught up in a cocoon of the Lord’s love, I can sense the dawn coming by the layer of misty fog in which I dwell. When the morning comes, shedding light on the next season, these wings will emerge in their fullness and beauty, ready to discover what it means to fly. After having tried my wings for a bit, tired from the weight of newfound beauty, I’ll settle on a flower for a bit, under the same sun where I learned what it meant to relish in the joy of being His creation.