Thursday, June 5, 2008

on missing my california

I am missing my California.

There are days when I think it was all just a dream; that I have really never left this place where I grew up at all. Did I ever leave? Was I ever really gone? Moments come when I can’t picture the faces anymore... I can’t piece the memories together and I don’t know what it’s like to feel the sun shine on my face the way it did then. It was another time in another place. I had a different heart, different hopes and different loves.

It is early in my story still, or at least that is what I like to believe when the end seems too near. If it is early, in fact, then I am led to wonder why my mind feels so aged and so accustomed to change. I am led to wonder why I am so numb to that change when it is crashing in around me. It seems as though my heart never registers what is going on until it’s too late to go back and start again. I wonder if God intended it that way… a fail-safe in case I dare to look back to where I came from and change my mind. By the time it hits me what I am letting go of it is already gone and over.

I guess all those things can be said less eloquently: I mourn later than everyone else. Granted, when I rejoice and when I celebrate something in my life, it is glorious and good. But when I do mourn or when I encounter this funny thing called nostalgia, I fall into the memories and I fall hard. I stumble into the ‘what if’ trap, and I fight off the feeling that I didn’t try hard enough or I didn’t choose wisely enough. If not the ‘what if’ trap, then it is the trap of good thoughts and recollections, and wondering if my heart will ever sigh so happily again; dreaming of better days instead of living in today. Physically aching to be somewhere else in a different era of your own life.

Life is so good and so rich. I have been saying that a lot lately and it is still so very true. But today I wanted nothing but to be in Azusa with my sister, walking to a coffee shop and driving to the beach with the wind in our hair and the world at our feet. I wanted to be walking in the evening air from my apartment to Bowles housing… to clutch my sweatshirt closer to my chest and know that a handful of my best friends were only a moments walk away. To rest in the comfort of knowing that God did make the rain, but he made the sunshine so very reassuring and full of hope. Today, I wanted yesterday so very badly.

The funny thing is that even if I returned, it would be so very different. If I were there, I would only wish to be somewhere else. The people have changed, just as I have, and the apartments are different and the friends have shuffled around and discovered new relationships, new paths to walk and new struggles to fight against. It’s called ‘my California’ because it is different than yours, different than anyone else’s.

Do you ever sit and wonder where you would be if you had only changed one thing? If you had only missed one conversation that changed you? If you had stepped back from your calling in life so that you could have it a little easier? I am recovering from a severe cold, so keep in mind that any of this could be the Nyquil talking, but tonight I want my California back. I am sitting here watching night turn quickly into morning, with a candle lit by my side, and I wonder what I could have changed. I wonder if I made the most of my time there; if people still remember me and if I am ever in their thoughts like they are in mine.

Life is so beautiful, and I am so thankful for today. Thankful for my two roommates who I adore and who lift me up and who hold me when I can’t keep the tears inside anymore. Thankful that I have two sets of parents who love and adore me, with more siblings than I could have ever hoped for and more love for and from them than I have ever dreamed of.

I am thankful but I am looking back.

California, rest in peace.

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