To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.
– Hans Christian Andersen
I’ve always listened to “Stop This Train” throughout the transition moments of my life. I’ve experienced so much change and movement in my life, and it’s only when I sit down for a moment of pause that it dawns on me that all of it is a constant evolution. In those moments where I stop to feel, nostalgia and a desire to slow time tiptoe in and it feels like an anvil loaded with sentimentality hit me in the head. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been to the airport or the number of miles that I have jetted. As a neophile who is always wanting to know what else is out there, I assume that the number is fairly up there. The number of “hellos” and “goodbyes” that have passed through my lips becomes second nature. Learning how to accept impermanence as the only state in which life exists in becomes easier.
The other day, I was listening to Professor Jonathan Walton’s Sunday Sermon at the Harvard Memorial Church. Walton is a mighty and intellectual thinker of our time, and I am grateful for the weekly reminders to press pause and to remember what and who is most important in life. The sermon was titled, “The Follies of a Fast-Paced Faith.” He begins, speaking about how he is prided himself in being an efficient traveler who zipped in and out of airports at breakneck speed. It isn’t until he travels with his young son, who tells him to look up at a stunning art installment on the ceiling, does he realize that his desire to move so quickly has blinded him from putting the brakes on to enjoy the scenery.
“Though I prided myself on being a skilled, proficient and efficient traveler – that skill, proficiency and efficiency blinded me from an incredible reality that rested right above my head. We might all learn something from looking up. For you are skilled thinkers. You are proficient in the arts, humanities, sciences… that’s why you’re here. You’ve developed incredible learning habits. But it is also possible to go through life with skill and precision in your chosen field and lose sight of this beautiful thing we call wonder and amazement. It is possible to lose touch of the beauty and bliss of life. Wisdom is not just about what you want to do and how to do it well, but rather – it is about what type of people do we seek to be? It is more concerned about ethical thinking vs. successful doing. For if you get the former right, the latter will take care of itself.”
Now, when I say goodbye to loved ones at airports, I take my time. The tears may well up and there may be a knot in my heart, but this feeling only exists because there’s the capacity to feel and care — and that in itself is a beautiful thing.
My chapter in California is coming to a close. I have a feeling that my New York years will be long and heady!