Moving, in and of itself, can bring all sorts of words to the ocean surface of our minds. Words like: adventure, travel, sightseeing, a new chapter, uprooted, a family migration, and melancholy all come to my mind. Although I haven’t moved as many times as some people in my circle of knowing, I certainly have moved a few times…to say the least. I’ve moved a total of twelve times with my family. Each of those times have helped to shape me into the person I am today in myriads of ways; some pleasant, some not so pleasant. But all in all, I wouldn’t have changed anything about my experiences, except that at the time I had no interest in photography…or I would have taken hundreds of photographs to catalogue my journey through life.
I’ve been to the desert dunes of New Mexico, baking in the heat and surrounded by canyons colored every desert hue of the rainbow, to the highest snowy peaks of Idaho, where rivers flowed crystal clear and shimmered sapphire blue against the clear sky, and where wolves howled at night and mountain lions screamed from somewhere nearby in the brush. I’ve seen the teardrop blue lakes of Michigan and the golden green of rolling fields in Illinois, sat in the shimmering, humid haze of Missouri on a summer’s eve, and watched the prairie dogs play in the sunflower dotted meadows of Kansas, under a spectacular sunrise. And I’ve walked under a magnificent, star-studded sky in Texas, breathing in the tangy, smokey air from wild brush fires in the distance. Sometimes, I’d live in a state more than once. Take Kansas and Illinois for example. But most I lived in just once.
As an only child, and with rarely any friends or outside interaction, I was often quite lonely. But, I always found marvelous ways to entertain myself. I would be almost constantly in Nature, climbing trees, playing in creeks, and creating vibrant story lines in my mind about epic migrations of wildlife, stories of adventure and peril that starred me as the heroine-or perhaps as the villain. Tales of dragons and knights, where I was the dragon and I always won the war. My mind was an enchanted playground of dinosaurs, innumerable amounts of wildlife, fantastical creatures such as dragons, centaurs, mermaids and mermen, faeries, trolls, goblins, elves, orcs, and giants, to name a few. These were my friends, my companions in life, and to be honest, some of them still are. 🙂 The effect of being an only child, or at least one such as I am with few people to tie me to a place, was that when it did become time to move–whether it was from my father’s work, or simply the fact that our Heavenly Father said that it was time to go, it wasn’t too hard to leave. Even when I would have a friend or two in a place, I would say my goodbyes, and though emotional and heartfelt they would be, I would eagerly leap into the unknown, all over again.
Each time we would move, I would learn more about the nature of the human condition in both myself and my family. There would be that sensation of falling from a great height…and you couldn’t see the bottom, so you could only guess at the depth. And you had a choice to either get scared and resentful at the fall, or you could laugh joyously and enjoy the ride. All those mornings at 2:00am, getting in the car with my blanket and pillow, we having already packed everything, the trailer hooked up or the moving van rented, the pickup beds strapped over with tarps and large quantities of bungee cords. I wouldn’t go to sleep right away…I’d turn on my audio book, or my music, and watch the stars wheel overhead. I would always stay awake just so I could see the Dawn’s Rainbow, when the whole sky goes each color of the rainbow in turn, and I’d see the sun rise over the horizon, lighting the clouds on fire, rays shooting in all directions. And, my sunrise mission accomplished, I would fall fast asleep for a while.
As I grew older, and I started to genuinely enjoy moving, even if I was leaving people I knew behind, I learned more of how our happiness in a potentially negative, uncertain situation is truly our choice. I’ve lived in hotel rooms for up to six months at one time, and then four months at another time. That I will say was often a little hard, being in the same room 24/7, barely any privacy at all. We’d rig sheets between the beds just so we could have some feeling of a “room”, a separate space so we weren’t breathing down each other’s necks all the time. To be honest I think we did extremely well, we rarely had a negative experience, we just learned to live in the pure joy of existence. Being able to just enjoy each other’s company as a family, especially in such close quarters was a really good experience. It effected me and still effects me in many ways. I am extremely attached to my parents, we tell each other everything, and we get along much like best friends do…and since I consider them my best friends, well, that works out perfectly.
Often people would ask me why I was and am so happy. Why I was content with the way things were, no matter if we were quite short on money, living in a less than desirable place, and having no real friends my own age. My answer then, and my answer now is the same.
He has gotten me through everything. He showed me the brightest side of life, and He gave me the choice to either choose to see things through that brighter light, or choose my own way. I have chosen one or the other, but it was always my choice. He simply showed me that there WAS a choice. He’s been my best friend, my hero, my ally, my guardian, my mentor, and my Heavenly Father.
My mom and dad are also my best friends. After all they’ve always been there, they raised me and are still raising me up to be an adult of integrity and maturity. They aren’t just my “momma-poppa” figures, they are truly my dearest friends, confidants, teachers, partners in “crime” (we play pranks on each other a lot), and we can talk about anything and everything.
If we actually look to appreciate life’s journey…no matter what that looks like, then we really can be happy, in the truest sense of the word.