This particular post is a bit different from my others. Usually, I have a certain thought or topic–even if miniscule–that I’ve been thinking about and want to share. Well, what I’m about to write can only be classified as thoughts I’ve recently danced around. I recently took a trip to Richmond, Virginia, to visit a dear friend. We live in different states and have only been friends for 2 & ½ years, but she is one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met. And I didn’t realize it at the time, but this trip was a break in the routine, an interruption, a pause on whatever picture my life is painting right now and the beginning of an even greater masterpiece I have yet to fully understand.
Truthfully, I’m not even entirely sure how to accurately describe in words the 2 day experience I had. Was it grand and extravagant strung with ribbons and pearls? No. Did I see things that I never dreamed I would be able to see in my lifetime? Not at all. Was it a time of difficulty that ended in a beautiful story of reconciliation? Not even close.
Then what was it? It was exactly what I needed.
What I saw and the conversations I had were real and authentic and just…GOOD. It was like soul food. No, not the deep-fried, collared, artificially colored kind of soul food. But the kind that’s found in moments of life that occur at the perfect time; a time when you need sustenance the most. To feel encouraged, excited, hopeful, calm, reflective…
Let’s see if I can expound a bit more.
Richmond can be described as a small town within a city. At least, that’s what the natives told me. When traveling to a new place, it’s easy to find the downtown area and see a common theme. Tall buildings. Bars and pubs. Coffee shops. Thrift stores. Lights. Interestingly dressed people. Park benches. Streets named Main. People named John. Quaint apartments. And essentially anything else you’d expect a small city to have. And yes, Richmond had all of these things. Sometimes two or more. And I loved it.
Every time I’m able to visit a city, there is a certain inspiration that seems to vibrate off of the building walls, a vibration so profound that your heart can’t help but to dance to the beat and swell with hope. At least, that’s what mine did. I didn’t grow up in a city, nor did I grow up in the country. I’d say I was at more of a happy medium. So, maybe that’s why I loved the experience so much? Because it was “new?” Because it was exciting? Because it was something different?
I don’t know.
I’ve been to enough cities to not be fazed by the tall office buildings, appealing hole-in-the wall-restaurants, and live music randomly played on the corners.
But that’s the thing. I AM fazed.
E V E R Y T I M E.
There will always be a part of me that is drawn to the city. I can’t help it. I’ve had the desire to be a part of that world since I was young. (And being able to step into my friend’s world, a reality that is basically my fantasy was…so cool.) My dream really has been to own a house right out side of the city, but have a job in the city. That way, I could have the best of both worlds. Ya know, like Hannah Montana? Except I wouldn’t put on a blonde wig, sing cheesy pop rock songs, or eventually drop my alter ego, put on a foam finger and “dance” with reckless abandon as my tongue hang from my mouth… So, I guess…not like Hannah Montana at all, then. 😉 But, you get the idea.
***[True confessions/disclaimer: I love both Hannah & Miley. I think the latter of the 2 is a little craycray, but y’all…homegirl’s got some pipes.]
I currently live in the mountains, and I love it. It’s beautiful. The views that can be seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway, or even the view from my apartment window are often so breathtaking. But I feel the same way about a city skyline. It’s a different beauty, but it’s a beauty nonetheless. The difference lies in what makes each view beautiful, I think. In my humble opinion, the difference is people–both the lack and abundance of them. In the mountains, looking at the dips and curves of towering trees and rocks wouldn’t be the same if scads of people were dispersed throughout the scene. It would take a way from what you’re viewing. In the city, the opposite holds true. Although people are unseen from far away, it is the knowing of their existence that adds a wonderful level of beauty to the skyline. I mean, think about it. The majority of the reason that the lights are seen is because people are inside of those buildings using the electricity to keep the lights on. Without people, the city scene would just be a bunch of squares and rectangles. And with people, the mountain view would be an overcrowded park.
It’s funny. I’m writing in my local coffee shop down the road from my house and there are trees across the street. I can see them from the window I’m sitting near. And as hard as I try, I can’t muster up the same feelings I had while writing in one of the local coffee shops in Richmond (where I had a delicious brown sugar latte). As cheesy as it sounds, to me, there is something more authentic about a coffee shop in the city. It’s more…poetic? Romantic? Cinematic? Haha…
Sometimes I wish that my mind wasn’t always so cinematic. Ya know, that I didn’t always have my head in the clouds? Imagining. Dreaming. Soaking up my surroundings and pretending that I’m on the big screen or on a Broadway stage. I do love that about myself, but it can get me into trouble, I think. The realistic mind I have, well the left part of it, is always at constant war with its friendly foe on the right. It’s a…beautiful disaster if you allow for it. But with that beauty comes annoyance. I’ve yet to balance it all. Here I am in year 20, still learning about a mind I’ve been intimately connected to since day one. I wonder if I’ll ever have a full grasp on it.
Maybe one day. I thank God that I’m all over the place. Level headed when I need to be, but creative and imaginative enough to say things in the realm of possibility reserved for those who often don’t always speak logically at first.
Eh…I know I’ve been writing for a while and this post is rather long. There’s not much of a set point to it either. Above all, I really think this one was for me. I mean, all of my blog posts generally are for me. There’s something so therapeutic about making your thoughts tangible by allowing them to leave your head. But usually, whatever I write can be addressed to a general population of people.
Not this time.
I just wanted to think out loud without actually having to talk.
[Lord, Thanks for making me the way that you did. Help me to trust that You’re going to finish whatever new masterpiece my life is about to help create. I love You.]