It was nearly eleven by the time we touched down in D.C. last Thursday. The snow from earlier in the day a dozen states Westward had been shaken off and replaced with a cool wind, as if the worst had passed. My cab cut through the blackened evening along the GW, which might after all this time still be my favorite road to anywhere. It curved upon the monuments, steady as soldiers and lit for display, and something in that view brought a version of my life seven years back, back to life. For this was the site of my searching and finding. Of our necessary dissolution and ultimate resurrection. This town was the site of my fiercest ambition; the manifestation of a vision against all warnings, when the only direction I had to go was up from where I stood. It was a season of counting every single dollar, because the cards were cut and every safety net was gone. And I learned to be genuinely grateful for each meal procured and the generosity of others who opened their homes – for a meal, for a night, for a month, so I could sleep in a spare room or basement bed and figure out how to construct a blueprint of a life out of these matchsticks spread around. It was a season of falling, over and over again, accompanied by the realization that this kind of endless descent can also come with the sensation of being caught. By a whole village of hands you didn’t even realize were outstretched. This was a season of moving every few months in the kind of nomadic endeavor that can only truly be accomplished when all of your belongings easily fit into two suitcases in the back of a car. Add a lamp for good measure. This was a season of battling traffic, shuttling the route between Maryland and Virginia as you do. It was a time of deep honesty and new truths and the genuine love of friends. Of going out for ice cream and cooking in. Of living questions more than finding answers, and navigating a way to get comfortable with that open end.
I looked around the room at the wedding of one of my dearest friends in that town on Friday night – surrounded by so many faces from that stage of life years ago, people who helped keep me from hitting the ground in every way – and couldn’t help thinking of the foundation that tumult had laid. In some ways I can still tap into that feeling of directionless abandon. It rings relevant in me in a way I’m not sure I could describe or will ever shed. Still, a lot has changed in the years since, you could say. Goodness has bloomed from within the fissures. The monuments are still standing. So am I.