Walking In Between
One of my favourite Ben Rector songs has the lyrics “Cause life is not the mountaintops; it’s the walking in between.”
I love that, because so often, especially while traveling, I expect that everything is going to be a mountaintop experience; huge excitement, wonderful things to see, always something new and cool. But it would quickly become exhausting if it was all that, and that’s partly why I love longer trips–I love living in different countries because it gives me a chance to settle down and have time to experience “normal” life instead of rushing through a country, trying to pack all the mountaintop experiences in to one exhaustive whirlwind of a trip.
So, that’s where I’m at right now in Ireland. A lot of being an au pair, just as being a university student abroad, is comprised of the walking in between. The every day work that I came here for is what I mostly live in; learning to drive the kids to and from places, cleaning up mess after mess after breakfast, making lunch, and doing it all over again the next day.
Even though I have a lot of things to look forward to, it’s not like the day-to-day moments aren’t worth it at all. I’m trying to see them as some of the most special and to enjoy the quiet and more simple life. Like being asked to read a favourite book over and over, or laughing at something particularly silly, or watching the rabbits run around in the garden at dusk. At camp, I was given a piece of paper with a quote about how we should take time, even when it’s busy to notice the smallest of things, to take a deep breath and just see the details around us or rejoice in the small things that we may normally rush past.
I’ve been trying to do just that. Over this past week, I’ve had a lot of things to smile about.
In the midst of learning the routine of someone else’s life–a few other people’s lives, actually–I’ve seen a lot of wonderful things and I’ve had time to stop and talk and enjoy conversations with new and old friends.
On Wednesday, the weather couldn’t have been better and we played outside and explored the yard that still seems enchanted to me (I’m convinced it holds some sort of time travel secret, a la “Outlander”), what with the ponds and brambly bushes on the side and broken statues and mini stonehenge. There’s something up there. And it all looked even more magical in the golden afternoon sun. Not just sunny, not just bright, but the Irish sky somehow produced this light wasn’t just light, it had a golden filter on it that made everything look happy.
On Thursday I enjoyed time out with friends, walking around new parts of town and drinking coffee and enjoying a change of pace and scenery, and at night enjoying a long run and feeling happily tired.
Today, I’m enjoying the fact that every little bit of time I’m given is a gift, and that God has given me much more than I deserve… it may be raining outside of this coffee shop but I am still happy and actually looking forward to a walk through the rain because of the gentle, quiet pattern on the streets, the smell of the farms as I walk by (some days it’s quite pungent!), and curling up in my cozy room peering out at the ocean and planning out my future trips–Belfast & Northern Ireland, and Paris, I’m coming soon!
And, right now, my little moment is finishing enjoying this coffee before I get chilled through 🙂