Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Thirst

We found a neat globe on sale at Target last week. The kids have been twirling it around, placing their fingers over one place and then another. (I do the same thing.) We found Afghanistan, traced the route Clint traveled to get there. We found South Korea, where he was stationed for what felt like such a long time a few years ago. We found Germany, where our good friends are from and who brought us back things from their visit there this summer. We found Ireland, where Clint and I went together.

It's funny, the more the world seemed to shrink as we found places we had some connection to, the more it actually expanded. Because there are so many more places we know almost nothing about. Places we want to know about. Places we want to see and discover. Places we will never get to go. Places we hope to see as we follow that dream.

The thing about moving around a lot is that it shrinks your time to enjoy what you go to the trouble of finding, over and over again. Friends. Family. Special places. That great diner, that perfect ice cream stand. But actually? As you see more and more of the world, as you meet more and more people, make more and more family wherever you go? You are really expanding. Our hearts and our minds and our special people and places... they all open up as wide as a big sky, as big and as never-ending as a globe on the table in our little house.

It's the same when you open yourself up to learning. I realized this early on. The more I would read, the more I would realize how much was out there to read, and that I would never get to all of it in my lifetime. The more you learn, the more you realize how much you don't know. Sometimes I think this is the difference between a small mind and an open one. This humility coupled with thirst.

I'm grateful to have a partner with the same thirst. I know we'll manage to take our kids overseas, to see as much as we can, because we both value that. I'm grateful the military will provide us with that avenue. And I'm so glad to see my kids awakening to that great paradox, that sweet thirst. Right now we're touching the map of the world and we're writing letters to send far away. We trace the way it will travel, over an ocean, over countries with languages and histories we don't understand. But we want to. We want to understand. And as everything shrinks, it will all expand.


maggie said...

Sometimes I feel like I've lost that thirst. Woe. My kids will never see Europe the way I did, because the US Government is not going to pay their way! I often wonder if we'll ever be able to show them the places where I grew up (and if they'll ever be old enough to make me feel like I can HANDLE taking them there!) This was inspiring- thanks.

Brittany said...

It's hard when the kids are so little, Maggie. The opportunity to see more of the world is one thing the military makes easier for us. I feel that if you really want it, though, you'll make it happen. I sometimes forget how many ways there are to travel. I have a friend who just simply travels the world when her husband deploys. She buys a ticket and gets some extra shots and goes to Tibet and wanders around. THAT is inspiring to me.