While on my trip to Idaho, I felt like I started to understand a part of myself. Not only do I love to travel, but I love to get away. I love not having phone/internet access (although I had better service in nowhere Idaho than I do in downtown Atlanta), or being able to watch TV. I loved having a big porch that looked out into the mountains, a lake, big blue sky with no clouds, a fire in the fire pit, and family that constantly tells jokes and plays pranks.
The quietness of Driggs, Idaho seemed to engulf me. It wasn't a loud quiet, but a soft quiet that let me rest. I slept soundly. I wasn't worried about the next day's plans or what we'd have for lunch. I was completely content to grab my jacket and camera and go with whoever was going out, or to read my book on the porch. I could sleep as much or as little as I wanted, because my family wanted me to just be me. Something that is a rarity in most life situations.
My family is made up of some of my favorite people in the entire world. And getting to sit around a fire with them, wrapped in blankets, drinking wine, smoking cigars, laughing hysterically, quoting movies and just connecting with them was more joy than my soul could take. I don't think anyone could be more loved or accepted than in the presence of my family. They love well and do relationships well. I want to be and am an extension of them, and I love that.
I've been reading Donald Miller's book "Through Painted Deserts" and I never thought I'd get into it. The whole story is about Donald and his friend Paul road-tripping from Texas to Oregon. They go through boring towns, meet quirky odd people, sit on the side of the road with a broken down van, do some hiking, and occasionally buy a souvenir. B.O.R.I.N.G. Or so I thought.
But I've gotten to the place in Donald Miller's life where he is starting to embrace the quiet of the open road. He starts to see God differently. He starts to see the things he carries around differently. He starts to value things that are good to value and release the things that are dead weights around his neck. Reading this book while escaping into backwoods Idaho, Wyoming and Montana (albeit those are amazingly beautiful places to escape to), really struck a nerve with me. I started to get to know people better. To ask more questions. To sit around the fire a little longer or have an extra s'more. To stand longer in the cold because I couldn't take my eyes away from the sunset. To sleep an extra hour because my body needed it.
I felt more alive when I got away from the busyness of my life and stopped performing and trying to make everyone like me. Getting around people that just want you to be you is so freeing. I just couldn't get enough. I didn't get on Facebook or check emails because I wanted to be all there. Not leaving one foot at home and one foot in the Tetons. While I was gone, I took deeper breaths and ate bigger meals and took longer walks and hotter showers. It was perfect.
I just got to be me this weekend, and it was so refreshing. God's peace swept over me like a wool blanket and settled into my insecurities and stress, leaving me feeling invigorated and loved beyond belief. The West is truly a spectacular place and partnered with my family, an impression was made on my heart that releases me to just be me and to love people well. The West has truly won.