Monday, September 26, 2011

When You Ache for A Place You Love

I've been aching somewhere inside me for Washington, DC. I want it back, my feet on those broken brick sidewalks, watching leaves fall in Lincoln Park, eating cupcakes (there were so many of those) and drinking cappuccinos while reading about policy. I am straining at every mooring here in Wenham to get back because, as I have written before, there is a piece of my heart that lives in those bustling street corners and remembers the park benches and the apricot iced tea and the walk from the Eastern Market Metro back to 8th St with the people who I never imagined in all my wanderings would become so close.

A year ago I wrote a "quieter" kind of post. A year ago I was learning that the quiet voice is to be treasured and spoken and remembered longer than the loud, indignant voice and the doubtful, questioning voice. I was learning how to speak from my quiet place, how to speak with love, how to love words.

On Sunday, September 26, 2010, I reminded myself that Plato said,  "Poetry is nearer vital truth than history."

And a few days before that I had been regaling you all with the tales of my encounter with the squirrel in Farragut Park before my internship one morning. The squirrels in DC are crazy; this one was out to get me. I remember how I desperately attempted to kick a squirrel away from my bench while writing in a prayer journal and trying to look cute for the parade of cute button-down-wearing, plaid-is-the-best-look-for-fall, messenger-bags-and-loafers guys who walked by. I can close my eyes and picture myself, my elbows flying in multiple directions, my laugh uncontrollable, and the truth that, somehow, in the midst of it all, "I'm marvelous!" singing in the back of my head.

And then the Pink Elephant Shoes come into my life in early October.

And then the almost-presentation at Heritage in our public policy class. Except that we couldn't present because our contact went out of town on business and didn't tell anyone.

And then came the lesson about mercy. The lesson about one step at a time, and learning to fly. The lesson about how even when we are in the midst of beautiful new places and new experiences, when our new self is emerging, in all her laughter and joy and sorrow and confusion - God still has lessons to teach us about Himself.

And then came the lesson about promises. The lesson where God moved into my heart and didn't let go, and how He calmed the storms and moved the mountains and in the midst of it all, how He promised His faithfulness. How He promised His love.

I long for DC today like the desert longs for a hurricane. But those lessons - laughter and poetry and mercy and promise - ring out like bells and remind me that even if my feet only touch the sidewalks between the music building and the science center, even if I look out my window at New England fall sky and pine trees, even if my heart is full of senior thesis and Sara Evans and the smells of September... Still, my heart is growing towards Him. 



  1. hilary,
    i love the way you write... i too long for places, people, sometimes simply caught up in memories :)

  2. So beautiful, Hilary. You capture the longing well with your words... those pangs for other places, and spaces can run ruts in our hearts, but you know well how to live fully, right where you are, despite the longings. Your words always bless me...


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