I dreamed it for years, planned it for months, prepared for weeks, packed for days.
The dreams in my head are always super easy. “We’ll just drive to Montana! It’ll be easy! I mean, it’s just driving, driving’s not hard.”
Of course the reality is never as simple as I imagine it. Not even close. Not with four kids. But my husband is the one of us who thinks of those things, not me.
So on a warm Tennessee day last December I said to him, “I want (need?) to go west. Preferably for several months. Preferably soon. Thoughts?”
And we went from there.
Our plan evolved quite a bit from December to July. And it took a whole heck of a lot of time and energy and effort to make it happen.
But alas here we are.
It has been every thing I imagined and more. It has been breathtaking, awe-inspiring, perspective-altering, eye-opening. Paradigm shifting. Refreshing. Humbling. Challenging. Rich and deeply satisfying.
And it has been something else. Something unexpected.
I stood on a smattering of rock beside a mountain lake six days ago and heard the voice I have heard only a few times before.
As the water lapped at my feet and the breeze blew through my hair, as the snow-capped peaks filled my vision and the Colorado sun warmed my back, I heard,
“You need not fear. Have faith. Have courage. That is all you will need to face tomorrow.”
It was so clear I even thought, ‘I should write that down, I need to remember that’.
I had no idea that one hour and one mountain pass later I would be on the phone with my husband as he broke the news to me that his dad was entering hospice and the final stage of Parkinson’s. And that he and his sisters were on their way to Texas to be with him.
“Fear. Faith. Courage. Tomorrow.”
Chaz joined us on Wednesday after spending several days with his dad, holding his hand, sharing tears and stories, and saying all of the things a son needs to say to his father before he goes.
So we are reveling. But we are also grieving and processing. And feeling very grateful for the chance to do so away from the demands of work and house, away from city lights and noise and obligation.
“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” -John Muir
And so we are. And so we will.