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Horizons

January 2, 2010

It is a new decade and as I take my first steps in 2010, my mind settles into thoughts of horizons. I look out and think what might be on my horizon in the coming year and I smile as I realize that I have no idea. I have many suppositions, of course, but in my experience, those never lead to much. I can have hopes and longings and plans but those tend to fall apart and come back together again in ways I could never imagine.

So my horizon this year is flexible, fluid and every nuanced shade of gray. In my head, it sort of reminds me of the beach scene in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” But instead of laying on ice with crazy blue hair, I am standing in the sand, barefoot, stretching my arms out into the night air, unable to feel the cold, even though I am in a place that is cool and gray. All I can feel is continually curious and engaged with this peculiar story that God continues to tell with my life. All I keep looking at is this horizon in front of me, mesmerized at all that lies between us.

I will venture a guess that everyone’s horizons are different. When I look towards mine, it is always pulling me west. So many nights, more than I can count, I will be driving, usually at dusk, and as my car moves towards a receding, fading horizon, something jumps in me to press my foot on the gas and just keep driving west until I reach the ocean. I mentally calculate if my bank account could last me ’til California and I breathe deeply as I can almost feel the sand between my toes, the salty waves spraying onto my bare legs. But in my practicality, in the life that I have chosen for now, a life in which I am happy, I still always feel a sense of sadness to reluctantly pull into my driveway.

My horizon pulls me towards the places I always want to go, places I craved even before so many that I love lived amongst them. What is it about horizons that connect to such a deep internal place? They seem magnetized poles, stuck in the ground, one after another, in a line stretching on to infinity. I don’t think I will ever be immune to the ways that mine pulls me and I can’t tell you why it is west. It has just always been that way. While I can’t explain it, I still know that even in the assured knowledge that I will never find the end, I will spend my days happily running anyway.

But the end isn’t really what’s important, anyway. The middle is the most important part and I don’t want to waste it focusing on the ending. I’m not looking for a life of endings or a life of beginnings, but a life of middles. That’s where the story lives, it’s where my story and your story are being told. When you read a really great story, it’s not usually the beginning or the end that matters so much; it’s what the characters did in the middle. It’s what they did in the tension, in the moments when everything falls apart, when they fall apart, in the parts where they succeed and fail and discover humanity and brokenness and healing. Their horizons pull them into so many places that make no sense and hold truth in their lies and sometimes feel so beyond that they don’t know if they can take it anymore. But even then, even in the deepest, blackest darkness, a horizon always holds light, even if it’s only a pinprick or a promise of a sunrise.

I am drawn to my horizon because its beauty lies in what stretches between me and it. When I look over an expanse of ocean, it’s not the hazy indigo line where sky meets water that pulls me. It’s the miles and miles of ocean in between. Those are what I love the most and what I dream of as I sadly turn the key in my car and go inside. Perhaps tonight, as I close my eyes and listen to the cars pass by on the street, that mechanic whirring might fade into a quiet lapping of ocean swells.

Happy 2010.
What does your horizon look like?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenna permalink
    January 4, 2010 12:54 pm

    So why haven’t you moved West? I remember from an earlier post that you felt the need to stay home in the mitten…?

  2. I love you permalink
    January 4, 2010 1:03 pm

    Yeah you if want to do something do it. Theres no excuse.

    But just keep in mind the West isn’t as romantic as you make it sound when you write about it. I used to think it was like living in a dream too.
    I even did what you wrote about.
    Was driving home one night and suddenly decided to leave. I only stopped to get Matt, an atlas and a cannister of oats.

    When we got to California three months later it was just a reality.
    It wasn’t a golden horizon or really that much different from anywhere else.
    Sure Ill never move out of California but all the same.
    And In reality the only magic is in Big Sur.

  3. Caroline permalink*
    January 4, 2010 7:23 pm

    @ Jenna and Noelle!

    I should try and explain my intention with this piece was not to express my desire to physically move my life westwards. If I truly wanted to, for a solid reason, I’d do it. Perhaps I didn’t explain my concept of horizon better but I’ll try:

    My horizon always orients me west because that’s how the world opens to me. It doesn’t necessarily mean that California is the promised land or that I want to move. I’m happy where I am, I really and honestly am. I don’t want to leave where I am yet. I know in my heart that it’s not time. All I know is that my horizon, the way that I look at my present and future, is stretched out into mountains and oceans because that’s where I find majesty and beauty. That’s where life jumps out of the cracks at me.

    I hope this makes sense. Must learn to explain myself better. 🙂

    Much love to you both, my dears.

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