Yesterday I found myself reading through my blog’s archives for September 2008, the month I moved across an ocean, from the desert to the sea. I have lived here for nearly three and a half years — long enough that I consider this town, where I live, ‘home’, that when people ask where I’m from, I don’t know why I can’t answer, ‘from here’. And though I try not to take for granted this beautiful place where I live, the privilege I have to walk by the sea to clear my mind and to worship, to sing weekly in a medieval chapel, to be getting my PhD from one of the top universities in the world, I do. Though I still stop and stare with wonder at how the light falls on a stone facade, these buildings are still familiar. Reading back through my first impressions of this place, I experience again the feeling of rightness that my journey has brought me here, to this place at this time. How strange how all that was new and breathtaking can now be familiar! And yet, how I do still stop, I do watch, I do still reach out to touch the ancient stones of the cathedral and wonder what stories they might tell, still watch the waters of the Kinnessburn, knowing that for centuries it has tumbled toward the sea and people have walked up and down alongside it, watching the ducks and the heron and breathing the crisp air beneath the trees. Yes, I take for granted this place where I live — a place for a time in which I have been granted to live — and I do, truly, appreciate this place, its buildings, its trees, its sea, its hills, and its people.
Three and a half years with another year and a bit to go. What will it be like when it is finally time to leave? I make no plans where I will go next; I pray that God will go ahead of me, prepare a place for me, as he has so faithfully done before. And in the meantime I will keep walking by the sea, keep digging in my garden, keep reading my books and writing my thesis and living my life in this place that is my home.