Seasoned.

I was reading another’s words the other day and came across the term, “seasoned wanderer,” and it resonated with me in that way that only one writer of words can touch another. I’ve not been able to put down the words in my mind ever since.

I am a reasonable adventurer because I am a nerdy, bookish sort who happens to love spontaneous, heart-racing adventures which require new stamps in my passport. But seasoned wanderer touches a deeper part of myself. I am seasoned. I grew up too fast and too hard and have sat at kitchen tables and on dirty floors of laundromats with the same intensity of holding the hands of the one to whom I am listening. I have heard stories that have both broken and healed my heart, and I have lived them, too. I laugh with abandon and cry in secret. I love like a wildfire now, but I was once a hateful and hated little thing. I have been in love and have known scorn. I left my heart in an orphanage in Venezuela, and I think of her and wonder if she is loved by a forever family and if she is doing well in school and if she laughs loud and long. I wander. I have adventures stateside and beyond, and I know things that I will never tell because some things simply cannot be lived twice because either the horror or the joy is too great. I move a lot and a part of me is always ready to run. I’ve seen the Smoky Mountains from the saddle of a horse and I’ve rafted on rivers and I’ve felt the Andes beneath my feet and this one time a wee boat carried me out to sea for a few months. I am in love with the Pacific Northwest and Del Coronado Island and I like the tales that shopkeepers tell in Tijuana. My broken Spanish and their broken English creates a most delightful mess. I have watched loved ones die and give birth with the same fascination because I believe that all of life — ALL of life — is gift.

The older I get, the more seasoned I get, the more I wander…the more I realize that my journey is small in its singularity. Woven into the cloth of humanity and the greater meta-narrative of this God I profess to serve, its a good tale that has served me well and taught me well and made me old and young all at once. But on its own, it is but a wee thread. So in order to see the whole of things, I have come to recognize that we are all seasoned wanderers.

We watch our babies leave the hospital in a box rather than a carseat.

We find spouses in love with others.

We attend our grandparents’ funerals and weep over lives lived well and, sometimes, poorly. In which case we might not weep at all.

We give birth.

We go home to empty beds and empty hearts when those we love walk away.

We get fired.

We choose to love.

We lose battles with our own bodies and minds.

We fall in love. Madly, wildly in love.

We smile.

We hold hands.

We all ache and bleed and thrill in our hearts with a vibrance only made possible by living. Our journeys are stories and we live them out and all of it is gift and molds us and teaches us and hurts us and restores us. With every bit of our being, we should embrace our seasoning and our wandering. All is gift.

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