Tomorrow we leave Nashville. Cozy Nashville with its rolling hills and skyscrapers hiding amongst the forest and so many new friends. Our stay here has felt much like I imagine base camp feels to mountain climbers – the last stop, the last stretch of almost-level ground, the last nervous smiles, and all the while the mountain rises up in the background, through the clouds.
Just about everywhere we’ve been up to this point has been some familiar place. But tomorrow we head west from Nashville, destined for Memphis. Never been there. Then we go on to New Orleans for Easter weekend. Never been there. Then west through Texas.
* * * * *
Occasionally a foreboding feeling creeps up on me, nags in the periphery of my imagination.
This trip is going to change everything, the voice whispers. You have no idea.
In some ways I feel it already has. I feel like a different person – it’s impossible to meet so many intriguing people, hear so many fascinating stories, see so many different places, without changing.
Yet I can’t quite put my finger on it, the exact ways I have been changed. It’s like a subtle itch under the skin, or growing pains. It’s an ache, an absence, a tremor.
* * * * *
This is the exciting part of Christianity. Waiting for the resurrection. Knowing that any day now, the ground will shudder, a light will shine, and I’ll hear the crushing sound of a massive rock rolling.
The damp smell of a hole in the ground.
And the weight of an unexpected emptiness.