Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Journey of an Expat

This is my first post from a strange land.

I am an expat. It’s the first time I’ve tried to put how I feel down on paper, and it sums up like this:

I am here.

I am – there’s no way around it. There’s no denying that I am not far from home, far from the land that raised me up and trained me.

I am me. I am a creature of the wood. I am a creature of the mountains. I am a creature of the lakes and streams and ocean. My bones are hard as granite bones of the mounts and my muscle is the color of the clay the fleshes the hills. My nose is full of the grass, green in the spring, gold in the summer. My tongue tastes the snow and the summer scent of dried pine needles and hot evergreens. Limestone caves, marble monoliths, towering trees, waiting waters are the adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine that store my genetic make-up. But being transplanted from my natural habitat and left to fend for myself – the defenses and weapons I have mastered and engrained into me no longer seem apt.

I am here. Far from me. Far from all that is familiar, far from all that is friendly, far from all that is family. In the foreign land where the very trees are hostile. Where the deer are small and form large herds. The semaphores are on wires and are yellow, and sometimes mounted sideways. The Walmart is huge, arranged different, and doesn’t have any good carts. The hills are sad, and the trees don’t even seem to try to grow tall.

I am meant to be here. Silly, but true. It’s the little things that remind me that this is where my crazy God wants me to be. It’s a word here, or a word there from people I know hear from God. These little words, they are these tiny answer to my questions. And it seems that there is something here that I’m supposed to learn, something that I’m supposed to get, something that is further going to define who I am and who He wants me to be. And there something here that I am going to impart.

I am the only me there is. No one else is me. I have years of training. Years of being poured into. Years of sitting under people who love the Lord.  Chapel in the Pines, Rivers of Life, City Ministries, Over the Edge, Rock the Nations, Mexico Trips, Redding, the SHOP, The Call, Joint Youth Trips, Leader Retreats, Rafting Trips, Late Night Talks, County Wide Worship Nights, Night Strikes, Thursday Night Worship Practice,  and IHOP are the amino acids of muscles in my spirit.

I am not here to spread the gospel of Tuolumne County. Nor am I here to further the reach of Chapel in the Pines. It’s not on the SHOP’s behalf I come.

I am here for here.

I am here for now.

I am here to see what God has planned for the little Podunk town.

I am an Expat and I am here.

The Grand Canyon!

So instead of stopping in Williams like I originally planned, I decided to continue to the closer hotels just outside the park entrance. I’ll save me an hour and half tomorrow driving, which will be nice. Then I can spend more time looking and walking around.

So here’s what I did so far on my journey.

I left town midday on Monday, after having breakfast with the Cooks, saying good bye to the office again, getting my car washed, and getting a replacement nalgene bottle. I drove and drove and drove some more, but then I realized that I had to drive quite a way further in the over all scheme of my trip, so why should I just put up with having my front wheels unbalanced? So I took a detour in Fresno to Big O tires and said “What the hay,” and got four new tires.

Then I remember getting tires is like being locked in prison for an hour half and then paying almost four hundred dollars to get out. Sure your car rides like a dream but was it really worth it? I guess so, since I did need new tires and Walmart made me sign something saying that they aren’t responsible if I die from lack of tread when they changed my oil on Saturday.

Then it was back on the road again and spent the night in Bakersfield.

Today I woke up and was on the road and here are some pictures:


California Desert


Some Giant Ball

Mountains in Arizona


SNOW! At the Grand Canyon there’s more snow than at home. It’s crazy and kind of refreshing.

Well, I’m off to find some food to eat. Later!

I am tired.

It’s late and I really should be sleeping in my freezing house. I’m on the couch in the living room since I no longer have a bed in this house. Or really much of anything. I’ve got that black bag over there with my clothes, a paper grocery bag with what’s left of the non-perishable and the non-frozen food I own. There’s my sleeping bag that’s keeping me from a slow peaceful death. My backpack that weighs a ton. Oh, I’ve got my ditty bag and toiletries in the bathroom and some clothes in the laundry.

I guess I no longer live here, just am visiting.

Today was good, I went to church for the first time in ages. Worship was off the hook, but I really like Pastor Dennis’ message today. It just really seemed applicable to my life. It was about the first part of Judges and how Joshua had to move from the old (under Moses) to the new (being a leader of his own). It just seemed to fit since I’m sort of in the same time of my life. Dennis’ story and lesson about the three stages of moving gave me more of an idea of what to expect when I end my time here. When I am dead, and there’s nothingness. And when I’m alive and growing in my new environment. For everyone else, it’s just the end of the year and hope for the new. For me, it’s a little bigger.

I’m am moving. Tonight’s my last night. My last night in Tuolumne County.

Andrew said that he felt this was a time for growth – not the normal “time for growth” where you’re being stretched with extreme circumstances, but more of the growth of when spring comes and the grasses pop up, and the new shoots come off the branches, and there’s new life all around.

But like any seed, I must first die before I can grow.

I’ve said my good byes. I’ve fought back tears hugging in the foyer of the church. I’ve felt that sicking feeling when I’ve thought of life without my friend while I was on stage listening to conversations. I’ve had the hope of old relationships in new ways with when I won’t see them face to face possibly ever again. I’m going to have weeks nights and weekends with nothing to do, no one to spend them with. No more adventures with people I can count on to send for help if the cave collapses, no one to push me to do things I normally wouldn’t, no one to make me laugh and think is crazy just with the stupid things he does.

And then tomorrow I have to say good-bye to Lindsey.

I’m not sure this one has sunk in yet, since we’ve been having semi-long distance relationship already. But getting a Lindsey fix isn’t going to be as easy or as cheap as driving two hours away to Tracy to have a date night.

I’m hoping that I have grace and the strength to survive.

I’m going to miss you all.