Today my roommate was telling me about how when she was little she would spend vacations and breaks at the countryside (I'm not sure how exactly to say this--they say it this way in English here, but it sounds a little stilted, not quite natural. We left the city? We spent the day outside the city, in the country? It may just be that I never use the word countryside except in this context, speaking in English to Romanians living in Bucuresti. The meaning is still clear, though, you know what I mean). And we were talking about how she's lived in the city, in our apartment her whole life.
It's something I can't fathom, not at all. To be that long in one place? Not just one area, but one house or apartment. On the one hand it's appealing. Imagine how full your house would be--of things, yes, but what I mean is memories and meaning. The way things are shaped by twenty or thirty years of life.
We have a window in our kitchen looking out over, well, over blocs, but I like to stand by it in the mornings sometimes and watch the sun come up over the buildings. I asked if she remembered when she first became tall enough to see out them. In some ways there is something about Wilmington that made me want to settle, put down roots in that sandy soil between the river and the ocean. I doubt now that I could ever live there for the rest of my life, but I love it, and it does hold five years of my life. But thirty? What would that be like?
I'm thinking now of a few verses from Jeremiah that were promises to me in all those months (even that seems like such a long time--difficult to imagine years of anything) of waiting. Part of one of them says, "My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them." The other: "'So there is hope for your future,' declares the LORD. 'Your children will return to their own land.'"
What will this look like? I wonder. It's a big question, too big to zoom in on details like where and when yet, or even anything more tangible than the metaphors of being rooted. Being planted, having your (my?) children return to their own land.
I'm realizing while writing this that the truth is, whether I live in one place most of the rest of my life or I continue to wander, there is a sort of rootedness I hope for. I'm thinking of my family--both the one I have now, my brother and mother, and the one I hope for one day, my husband and children. And I hope, if I do get married, it's a sort of family that I can be grafted into, rooted with, that no matter where we go we can come back to them.
It's bigger than this, too. We're grafted into the family of Christ, adopted sons and daughters, heirs. Rooted in him. Family wherever we go.