Walking downhill forces you to tip-toe and the body that usually finds it so difficult to be graceful looks like a dancer just for a moment. Spending a week in the mountains, you walk downhill quite a bit.
The mountains have a way of shocking. Waking up after a night of airplanes and trains and miscommunication and three hours alone in the dark is transformed when you look out the window.
What could keep you away a whole year? Then another?
Homes called “chalets” and dark wood-filled kitchens. Mint tea shared by a small community that will most likely never see each other again. Nights in the lounge playing fish bowl; conversation that drifts from American Girl Dolls to the point of prayer to the public transportation system in America.
How did I become so blessed?
And one of the best parts is the absence of this very thing: no internet, limited phones, no demands from the world.
I know I can’t live like this always, but for a week it is lovely.
Did you know it is possible to play pingpong in the dark in bare feet and not care that the pavement is freezing?
And you can sing harmonies to hymns with people you barely know, but you all know the music.
You can learn the laughs of eighteen different people and name the laugher a half-a-house away.
You can play volleyball and not be kicked out for your terrible serving abilities.
You can weed a garden you will not enjoy, take recycling to the village whose name you can’t pronounce, deep-clean a kitchen that will serve you only one more meal.
Then you will wake up bleary-eyed and pack your bag. You will try to pretend it isn’t real as your friend pours you coffee – a cup of coffee you inhale because the bus is coming.
You will walk to the end of the driveway with a group of new friends and one old. You will hug them and wonder Where will God bring you? as you wave from the seat through the window.
You will not be the same when you land in Boston, but you try not to name the ways.
That’s something you learned during your days in Switzerland:
You don’t always have to put a name to things because sometimes that’s all you end up seeing. The unnamed goes overlooked and invisible, hidden by what you can label, but it’s no less valuable.
[All this you overheard at dinner because you don’t always have to be in a conversation to gather its truth.]
You’re different but not sure how. And you’re becoming okay with not knowing.