Monday, August 14, 2006

Like a true nature's child...

...I was born, born to be wild!

Maybe not. But every time I drive down our own, lovely, long, all-American I-40 I get this beautiful wanderlust which makes me want to just keep going, and take off down this or that exit for no reason and meet the people there, and eat the food and see the shops and trees and ponds and streams. I want to have pictures of every classic Route 66 sign. I want all the postcards for every state between New Mexico and Virginia. (The ones we go through are New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia.) I want to drink that wondrous nectar of the gods, sweet tea, until I burst in a splash of sugery goodness. I want to listen to my roadtrip mixes on my ipod until my head hurts. I want to talk to mom about everything under the sun until I loose my voice.

I love how friendly people are! Of course there are exceptions, but in gas stations or at hotels or restaurants or shops or even just on the street people ask where we're from, where we're going, and tell us to enjoy Tennessee, or Virginia or wherever we happen to be. (By the way, here's the picture of the building used in Cars that we saw in our roadtrip.)

My favorite roadtrip song--there are too many to choose just one favorite. I like Born to be Wild enormously. It does just explain that feeling of freedom, of adventure that a roadtrip inspires. It's a perfect rolled-down-windows song. I also like the Shrek and Shrek 2 soundtracks--they have amazing songs for roadtrips. "I'm on my way from misery to happiness to day (uh huh, uh huh, uh huh, uh huh.)" and so many others. The Same in Every Language is good too--indeed, the whole Elizabethtown soundtrack is good for driving, although that particular song is the kind that inspires you to take the trip in the first place, really.

As we checked into our hotel in Memphis this afternoon, (the people here are so nice!) a bunch of military guys--army, I think--checked in after us. They are unbelievably cute. I adore military guys--isn't that too awful? I think I got bitten with the bug because of my Grampa. He was Navy, and I just love him beyond reason. Then James the Marine made a lasting impression. Have I told you about James?

He was (is!) a marine, cousin to one of the girls at school. I met him at a dance when we were at my sister's graduation. He had just come back from Iraq--he had been injured when some insurgents had ambushed his squadron or whatever they're called in an abandoned hotel. He had lost a foot and an eye, 90% of the hearing in one ear and 30% in the other, and he was generally scratched up besides. He told amazing stories. I couldn't dance because I'd sprained my ankle, and he couldn't dance because he'd just had a foot amputated, so we talked--or I listened while he talked. He showed me money he'd found on a body, told me about "Camel Spiders" (I'll explain those sometime in person.) and explained the difference to me between unconfirmed and confirmed kills. He also told lots of stories about his buddies, and about what he hoped to do when he was all better--and what he would do if he couldn't go back to the Marines. He wanted so very, very much to go back.

I read one of my friend's blogs just before I began writing this. It was very spiritual. She talked about the complexity of the Christian life, and how it somehow balances trial with blessing, joy with pain. It was very good. I look at what I've written, and it does seem so shallow beside that. I don't often talk about deep and important things I guess. I mean, I do when I'm with my mother. I do when we start talking about philosophy--I love talking about people's worldviews and hearing what they believe. It is one of my favorite occupations. I don't know that that falls under deep and important things perhaps.

It's so easy to be discontent. I wish I was more spiritual--I wish I was prettier, nicer, funnier, smarter--the list goes on and on. One of the things mom and I talked about was that very interecting conception Christians have that we must always be perfectly content. I agree--we must learn contentment. We whine altogether too often. I also think, though, God uses our dislike (dare I say, discontent?) of present circumstances to push us to a new place--that's what he did for Martin Luther--that's what he did for the American Founders. If they'd been perfectly content, would there have been a reformation? Would there have been a revolution? Indeed, I think not. The whole "be content thing" is more of an attitude I think--less whining over there! Having an attitude of contentment is linked very closely with giving thanks "in all things." Thank you, Lord, for this opression--now we get to serve you by fighting for what's right!" That's contentment in circumstances, but not in the status quo. Fascinating thoughts.

All my love, especially to those ridiculously good-looking boyos who are protecting our country. I'm praying for you.

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