The A/C felt cool against my skin. The West Texas heat has a way of creeping in and settling on every surface. My ford pick-up was heading east down a long two-lane highway. My favorite music playing in the background, but I wasn’t truly focused on the lyrics. They sat and talked, one in the front seat, the other in the back, and although they were close in proximity, miles of space separated us. I felt as though I was trapped in my own thoughts, consumed with an overwhelming feeling of fear, anticipation, excitement, and nerves. I felt as though my stomach would betray me. Landscape after landscape, mile after mile passed by and as I passed a green highway sign that said, “Throckmorton County.” I opened my mouth and said, “Here goes nothing.”
Mom and Melissa laughed, but I knew that they both felt the tension that had enveloped me. I was trying to joke, be a goof, avoid the conflicting thoughts that were flying. The final question of, “Am I really doing this?” echoed in my mind as I pulled up beside the beautiful courthouse and stepped out of my pickup. Melissa met me with a soft smile and a warm hug. I sighed.
So this is really it?
The anticipation of meeting the other fellows was somewhat silenced as Melissa and I made conversation heading to the cabins we would be staying in. The gorgeous pastureland flew by us, surprisingly greener than I had expected. Rain can change a landscape so much. We finally pulled up to the cabin and as I unloaded my grey, overly large, and almost inconveniently sized suitcases, I was greeted by John. A large smile and an even larger hug eased my anxious heart.
I waited only thirty minutes before the other fellows pulled up, and the nerves returned. Will they like me? Will I be able to make friends? Such junior high, school girl questions rattled in my mind as the introductions began. After a day on the lake, settling down at supper and beginning to get to know each other I felt a sudden reassurance that, I am home.
Not home in the physical sense. Not a structure. Home had evolved into the state of which my heart and mind were in, and the people that surrounded me. Home needed to evolve for me. I needed to know that no matter if I was in Throckmorton, Texas or in Ghana, West Africa, that I could feel steady, stable, and full of life. I had a support system around me that was present the minute we were all in the same room. I knew, at that point, that this journey would change my life, more so than I would change lives. And now, as I sit and think about that… I am completely okay with that. Often we try and take new experiences and moments of vulnerability and find ways to extract those feelings to other people, and avoid our own. But as I sat around seven people who have beautiful hearts, I think to myself, “We are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime… but we have made a way to make it home, before even moving in.”