I will remember

This time last year I was off on the greatest adventure of my life so far. I learned so much while I was in Switzerland. Not only did I become proficient and confident in my second language, but I also grew as a person and saw a part of the world that took my breath away. It gave me a yearning for adventure, a love of airports and a joy of stumbling through conversations as I force my tongue to make new sounds. I know wanderlust is an overused term but this was my view of it. This is my wanderlust. I want to truly experience the world not just see it.  

I stood at the foot of the mountain pictured on the wrapper of a Toblerone chocolate bar.

Also

known

as

the Matterhorn

It’s one of the most well-known sites in Switzerland

An icon,

my camera roll is full of photos

but as I stood in it’s shadow

I come to the realization

pictures

don’t do justice.

And I remember thinking.

God. Please make this stick in my mind. So I can go back and play this day over and over like a home video, the film rolling through my brain, the images tumbling clearly as if I was seeing them for the first time. Please. Tattoo these memories, engrave them on the inside of my skull.

I want to remember

I know now

I don’t want to be a tourist

with nothing but a few photos of a

half remembered family vacation and a sunburn that disappears after a week

I

want a backpack

I want upside down maps

I want language barriers and

I want native speakers with not a word of English on their tongues

I want dirt roads

and I want to make the kind of friends who welcome you into their home

A stranger one day

and a friend

still five years later

I want to get lost in unknown cities

and find Sam in the process.

The world is wide

and it can be scary

and I know I won’t get to see it all

But I want to collect as much of it as I can

like the smooth round pebbles I used to pick up as a kid

I will slip memories into my pocket and feel

their weight as I walk,

remembering brown faces with crooked smiles and eyes

as wise as the mountains,

warm spicy scents that burn my nose

in the best possible way

I will pretend my skin still carries the dust of a country I miss

even though

it’s long since washed away.

And when I have children I will teach them

to carry backpacks

and draw their own maps

and let them get lost in the backyard to find themselves.

When I have grandchildren

I will reach into a pocket

almost forgotten

and pull out a stone.

Worn smooth as sea glass from the rubbing of fingers over the years

I will hold it like the Aboriginal chiefs

hold a totem pole to help remember the details of a legend

I will speak

let the memories rise up

smells and sights from long ago faded coming rushing back like

a river thawing in spring

I will tell them about standing in the shadow of the Matterhorn

I will tell them about a song sung round a campfire in a language I barely understood

I will tell them how I sang anyway

I will explain that I found part of Sam in a village in the south of Thailand

and another piece of her in the sand on the beaches of Peru

I will explain how bits of her were hidden in places I hadn’t expected

like the hallway of my high school

and a box

in the corner of my mother’s basement.

I will tell them I found Sam spread all over the earth

like Isis found Osiris in Egyptian times,

I will tell them to get lost

When they ask to see pictures I don’t have, I will describe

the smile of a girl whose name has long been lost and buried in the filing cabinet of my mind

but who’s smile I will never forget

or  the sound of a crowded street, people rushing about , strangers

who were really just friends I hadn’t yet met

I will describe the smell of an ocean.

I will give them a Toblerone bar

I will tell them to make friends with everyone they meet

The world is wide

I know I won’t see all of it but

I’ll try

I will collect cities and people and languages and love and I will hold them close in my pocket

And I will use them as touchstones

To remember

God. Please. Make this stick in my mind like a home video, I will rewind the tape over and over and pray I don’t wear it out. Help me to decipher the carvings I once made but now can barely recognize. Please

I will discover

and then

I will remember

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8 thoughts on “I will remember

  1. Ally

    I absolutely love this!! You’ve totally captured my heart and how I’ve felt as I’ve traveled and served God in other places. 🙂 isn’t it amazing how we learn and grow through these experiences?

  2. Pingback: Like a Bird – Sam's Grand Adventure

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