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We were supposed to hang out the night before it all, but of course life has its ways of working out for the better.

His truck is a dusty mess; big tools, clothes, unopened Strongbow’s and paperwork are everywhere. But that passenger seat feels just like home to me. It’s a necessary thing when life feels like its lost you to find – and be – wherever it feels like home.

He tells me to wait and clears the seat of its junk, puts a gross cigarette in his mouth with a Nicorette patch on his arm, and turns to me with his impossibly ever-present smile. We get each other and I just know, it’s time to just let go.

Cousin Jordan is one of those handsome kids with charisma that everyone loves. When we’d walk through the halls at the hospital to visit Grams he’d wave to all the patients, acting as though he knew most of them by name. They all look at him confused but smitten, because that’s what Jordan does, he leaves you feeling a strange amount of things.

I didn’t know him well enough before last summer, but life has its way, right?

I spent a week with him and my sweet friend with the wild hair at his place in Penticton last August and was thoroughly annoyed and admiring of him by the end of it, because, that’s what Jordan does. We played Connect Four and drank B.C. Cherry Vodka at distilleries, watched his fast boat steal our belongings and offer them as a sacrifice to the lake while we listened to Dr. Dre; laughing uncontrollably at absolutely nothing and everything.

We wondered about our family, our history, and sat in silence confused about our future. I’d remind him of hope, and he’d say “Oh for sure,” and remind me he didn’t want to talk about Jesus.

But when you get each other, it isn’t necessary to talk about anything, not really anyways.

During that season, he spent a lot of his time at the hospital and inside Gramps house offering a glass of whiskey and simple company. He’d call me, tell me about it all, and let me know when it felt a bit too much.

And when we’d finished saying final goodbyes to Grams, he cleared the seat in that dirty old farm boy truck for me to feel at home. And we drove.

We drove down gravel roads and with dirt flying up my nose we sang Garth Brooks’ greatest hits at the top of our lungs. We said a few sad or stupid things, argued about my love life, and went back to singing louder than the truck rushing along the road.

Just last week, Cousin Jordan showed up at my house to take me to a concert I was already committed to, but couldn’t really afford. He told me selling the tickets was stupid, and we’d make a night of it. “I’m gettin’ you black-out drunk, I can’t even wait!” He joked with that smile.

I put on some shorts, hopped in that truck, and waited less than a minute before the cigarette was lit and hanging from the side of his mouth while he turned the music up loud. We sang Despacito and old country songs at the top of our lungs and drove into the city for a good old country show. And I let my hair whip in the wind as I thought to myself about how life has its way, and, how good it feels when find yourself at home.

Some people do that – they make you feel at home. I hope one day I’ll look so carefree while investing so deeply, so well, into the lives of everyone around me. I hope one day we’ll all have bits of that inside us all, so when people see us, they know they’ll be left feeling all sorts of beautiful, wild, silly, hopeful things.

I have this idea in my mind that a blessing looks like golden opportunity in a seemingly black hole, like a musical with Sister Maria from Sound of Music, or like money falling out of a lack-luster sky. I’m honestly not sure how to respond when a blessing from God looks more like hand-me-downs and cans of evaporated milk on an otherwise emptied table. Blessings? Really? Read the rest of this entry »

That little lady was only three and we went to sing while Taylor Swift sang on stage. But before she came out, these guys rocked out and I fell in musical love. We bought their albums and listened loud most every day. Listened especially on the long trip home. That little truck and a couple little hearts trying hard to grow up and not to grow apart. That winding road to a soft little spot where fish fly and an old man’s cheeks fill my soul with love while he grins. Where cinnamon buns and fresh coffee round out that fresh mountain air. The boats, the water, golfing off the dock like I ever knew how. The love, the fire, the pit, the sand, the rocks, the hope, the kiss, the laughter, those books, these hearts, the love. The love…

I’m not so concerned with the past anymore. Cause if it’s true, and I’m pretty sure it’s true, God is on my side. He’s on your side too.

So I breathe and choose to turn up the sound. I’m ready for a long drive home.

I remember when I worked night shifts at a Group Home for youth ages 12-17. There could be three gents and three ladies living in that home at one time. Let me repeat; there were six troubled teens in one place trying to call this strange place home, and allowing strange adults who apparently {and yes, most certainly did} cared about them speak instruction, discipline and love where most of the time, there was never any sense of ‘healthy’ in their family home. Shift workers who changed from every 8-10 hours trying to make a difference caught in between six young people needing deserving one-on-one love and attention. This was never an easy time for me. My heart weighs heavy for people I hardly know, because I’ve fallen in love with that beating heart God created. I can’t remember a day of my life not feeling this way. Learning to leave it at the foot of the cross will take a lifetime of trial, and multiple errors. I’d stay awake for their protection during night shifts while they sat by their windows and smoked weed hoping I couldn’t smell the sadness. Daring to let the desperation get outside the barricades of their chest. To go AWOL. They didn’t know where to turn for stability or find hope for a future which to them seemed destined for doom. They couldn’t handle ‘healthier’ very well once they arrived to this place because it was so foreign to anything they’d ever known. I only wanted to breathe life into them. I just wanted to go searching in hope for life with them.

They’d go AWOL too. They wouldn’t just dream it; they’d live this life of leaving in hopes of finally finding something good, lasting and real. I won’t tell you specifics because I’m bound to and in love with confidentiality, but generally, they’d stick to some pretty typical ways of coping. They’d turn tricks at fourteen, flip drug deals or swallow themselves whole in those drugs. Sometimes they’d throw rocks at my face, chairs at my back or sit for entire days on a barely moving swing across the street at a park. Sometimes, they’d just go back to their family home. Back home where their families would hurt them and the house was a constant chaotic mess, but they knew that home and they loved what they knew. I’d have to call the police and send in reports and text their cell phones while hoping for response. I’d sit in the office with a pounding heart, pace by the door and to the living room window and I’d pray. I’d pray though they’d never know I would, that they would just come home and be in mostly one, only kind of broken piece.

Sometimes, I feel it. Sometimes, I understand. Sometimes, I’d like to just go AWOL too. Today, yesterday and a couple years into it, it still feels like a good day to just go AWOL. Of course most days I don’t care to go AWOL and wouldn’t even consider it. But I’d be entirely dishonest if I said I never wanted to run across continents just be absent without leave… without permission.

They barely knew me, those beautiful youth. But I love them all very dearly. I’d stay up through entire nights to bake them cookies and warm bread, fold the fresh laundry they refused to even wash, and write notes of encouragement for the lunches they’d take to school though, they would rarely actually be found at school. They have such beautiful souls.rolls

I think that’s how Jesus rolls. I think that’s what He does because that’s who He is. I think while I’m drifting to dreams of AWOLing, he’s busy baking something sweet for my life, folding and cleaning what I don’t even want to face, and writing encouraging notes of love all over the skies and throughout my nights. I think He’s sending out floods of protective angels to find me, talking quietly and hoping I’ll get back to Him soon. I think He does this for me, and I think He’s doing it for you too.

Sometimes, I’d like to AWOL too. But friend, it makes the world of difference those times when I don’t feel I  belong just to recall His love is never sleeping, is ever awake and eternally attentive. And every time I’d like to leave all I know, I remember He just wants to be around to breathe life into me, go searching in hope for life with me. I can’t help in these moments to realize in Him, I’m always, always home. You, beautiful soul, most certainly are too.

I’m giddy like a young girl in love. And well, I suppose I am.

I am deep in love with the life I’ve been given so I’m leaving work early to road-trip to the truest home of my soul; the mountains. Lovely. And its’ more lovely than a majority of you could know. I feared those mountains for too long with all those whispering, haunting memories they held but God makes all those things redeemed if we allow Him to.

And if you so happen to see me there when I touch ground, you’ll know me by my giddy smile, ear to ground, heart to earth embrace. Because friends, going home is always, always good.

The following will be playing in my new car, Jetson the Jetta, who is making his very first road trip home. And I’m giddy. Like a girl in love, I’m giddy.

Enjoy,

Dee

I’ve been crazy sick this week. Sick and crazy; probably separately and yet very connected. I’ll write you all about it soon. While being sick, I dreamed of and quickly found my way home. Sat myself up on the couch and drifted to dreams of having a normal stomach, and normal brain.

I posted the cute version and the real version of this great shoulder-shimmies-required song. It’s Friday my free people- Enjoy!