We’ve been home for two and a half weeks, and we’re still settling back in.
A few days after we got back to Girdwood, Liesl came down with the flu, which changed the math around here. Instead of two adults taking care of a baby and a dog, it was one adult taking care of a sick person, a baby and a dog. Now that she’s mostly on the mend, we’re making progress on the daunting, never-ending task of bringing order to our 1100-square-foot condo.
So, how was the road trip?
It’s a hard question to answer, because we didn’t have a clear goal when we set out.
At some point on the trip I posted on Facebook that “there, and back again,” might be the measure of this trip’s success. And we’ve done that.
It was quite an accomplishment to take the ferry from Whittier to Bellingham, and then put more than 5000 miles on the truck getting back to Alaska via the AlCan. Particularly with a baby (and a dog, for part of the trip).
But what was it for? Why did we go?
As I wrote before we went, we were stuck, and we needed to yank ourselves away from here so that we could imagine a new future for ourselves.
We did that, too.
Liesl began to see the giant boulder of grief she’s been carrying around about leaving her job, and possibly leaving Alaska. Now that she knows the boulder’s there, she can set it down once in a while.
I found space to take a chance on a new life, daydream about entrepreneurial ministry, and expand the work I’m already doing.
The trip propelled us into a liminal place. Not into a new, rooted place. A liminal place.
And we’re still there.
We’d like a new house, and new careers, without all the constant questioning and considering and good god all the waiting.
We’d like a home with more room for Willa to play, with plenty of space for Brady to run around outside, with a place for Liesl and I to shut the door and remember who we are, apart from our parental roles.
We’d like for both of us to have daily work that feels meaningful, purposeful, satisfying.
We’d like to expend our energy in the present, not in planning for, imagining, and trying to get to the future.
We get cranky with each other. And with the dog.
But then we watch an episode of HBO’s Vice, about Sudan.
And we remember how privileged—and small—our struggle is.
We remember to be grateful for our happy baby, who has enough to eat, and a place to sleep.
It puts our search for meaning and purpose in a larger perspective.
We’re looking, not just for work that makes us feel valued, but work that actually is valuable, work that helps to make a dent, however tiny, in the terrible, terrible things that happen every day around the world, and right here in Girdwood, and wherever you are.
So that’s how our trip was.
We may be sleeping in the same place every night now, but we’re still on the road. We’ll let you know when we arrive.
If we ever do.