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Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance

January 10, 2011

It happens several times a year, like clockwork: I want to be somewhere else.

Not just anyplace else, either.  It’s almost always someplace north of me.  Right now I’ve got it bad.  It’s January and there’s yet another buzz about a “southern” winter storm.  There’s snow in Alabama and Georgia, even.  But let me assure you, there is no snow here in the FL panhandle.  Last year some parts of the panhandle got some snow, but not my part.  And it’s not that I need a lot of winter to make me happy.  Just some.  Some cold weather, some snow, enough to make me start to long for warm weather again.

But it’s not just snow that gets me in this funk.  Fall colors do the same thing.  I want autumn.  We don’t get real autumn in FL.  Oh…and summer.  I want those lovely summer nights where the air starts to cool just enough that it’s nice to go outside and smell the grass that has been freshly cut, when sitting on the lawn until the daylight fades and the fireflies comes out becomes a neighborhood activity.  This doesn’t happen in FL, either.  Too hot.  Too much humidity.  We all hole up inside where it’s air-conditioned and we can breathe.

I know a good deal of this comes from being born and raised in the midwest.  I miss hardwood forests, I miss rivers that aren’t crawling with snakes and gators, I miss farms, I miss summer fog, I miss hills, I miss the smell of a cornfield, I miss dreadful plastic Christmas lawn ornaments, I miss home food, I miss real county fairs packed full of offerings from the local 4H clubs and the FFA and where the entertainment consists of tractor pulls, horse pulls, and demolition derbies.  I miss the sound of shuffing through dried leaves on the ground, I miss…so much.

I don’t think this is the only reason I’m restless, though.  Though I like security as much as the next person, I can only do the same ole thing for so long before I start becoming terribly itchy for something new and different.  If “new and different” isn’t somehow built into my everyday life, I eventually start to feel as if I’m drowning in boredom and daily-ness.  And paradoxically, the more bored and restless I become, the less I can think to do that might change that for me.  I start feeling stuck on a hamster wheel that I don’t want to be on but can’t seem to stop spinning for one reason or another.  It’s not good for me, and it’s certainly not good for the people who have to put up with me!

A long time ago I noted that the most satisfying things in life are actually moments of intense relief.  Like when you’re really hungry and you finally get those first couple bites of a delicious food.  Or when you have a maddening itch and you finally scratch it.  Or when you’re really hot and you step into a cool room.  There’s that deep sigh of contentment as your equilibrium returns to normal.  I think this is what happens to me when that deep restlessness is finally broken.  Something inside me was waltzing like a washing machine trying to spin a load of heavy blankets, and when “new and different” steps up, that something begins to glide like an ice skater.

This business of perpetual restlessness is why I don’t think we go to a boring heaven after we die and sit around on clouds and play harps.  I think God created us to always want to step into more, to long for bigger and better and different.  I don’t think He was trying to frustrate us, but to prepare us for what it’s going to be like to live in a Kingdom that is ruled by a King whose power and riches are infinite, as is His love for His children, whom He loves to delight.  I believe we will spend eternity walking from one cool new and different thing to another, each one better than the last (if that’s possible), each one a newer and more full revelation of His incredible infinite and eternal greatness.  I’m not going to have time to be restless in heaven because the good stuff is going to just keep coming.

But for here, right now?  I’m ready to bang my head against the wall until I see stars…or snowflakes.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2011 2:02 pm

    I feel the same way in the fall. And I really want my kids to play in the snow!

  2. Mr Sparky permalink
    January 12, 2011 8:51 am


  3. January 16, 2011 10:00 am

    Oh my goodness…I feel this way (as intensely as you describe) with the turn of EVERY Season! I soooo miss the seasons…and I miss the SNOW! I want to play in it! I want to watch the big huge wet snowflakes (I grew up in Chicago, lake-front snow) falling. There’s something magical about snow….there’s something magical about each season….we don’t get these seasons here and it’s very sad for the heart! I have traditions that go along with each season that I’ve tried to pass to my kids even with our barely a hint of each season.
    *sigh*….maybe it’s time to move!

    • January 16, 2011 10:02 am

      btw…I love your reference to God preparing us for what Heaven will be like. I hadn’t really thought of that, but yes, of course….God is planning a spectacular Heaven that is so full we will never get bored….yes!!

  4. Amanda permalink
    January 16, 2011 10:39 pm

    Me too, me too!! I miss seasons and snow! It is so hard living in a place with only 2 seasons, hot and hotter. It cracks me up when it gets to 60 degrees and people start wearing their leather coats and boots. I like to try and visit my family in WV in the spring, fall or winter. I really miss it, but I don’t miss driving in the snow and ice or having to watch for deer around every turn. I miss a good fair and 4H and livestock!

    • January 17, 2011 3:50 am

      Amanda, I know you definitely know the sort of fairs I miss, since we didn’t live all that far from one another back in the day!

  5. January 20, 2011 11:52 pm

    Now that I’ve watched the movie (The Namesake), your title makes sense :)))) good movie….

    • January 21, 2011 8:20 am

      What did you think of it?

      • January 21, 2011 4:10 pm

        I liked it….it was very long, but good! I liked all the culture in it and thought the story line was mixed with funny, drama and sadness. All in all, it was a good movie and I enjoyed it! And, like you…still thinking about it today….

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