For a Californian, going east can be time travel. The roots and routes of Golden State history mostly point that way. Indeed, on this trip people from the past have come alive to us—Jefferson, Washington, et.al—but also some names from our personal history: Joan, Laura, Roger, Krissy, Terry and more. It’s as if we reached back to pull memories forward and make them again present and real, thus refreshing and resuming some precious friendships.
Much as I love knowing Thomas and George all the better, this was an east-coast swing that was as notable for our personal histories as it was for our national. We love our country, even more so now, and (contra Vladimir) we are an exceptional people. To us this is proved and personalized in that we have some remarkable and exceptional friends.
A post will follow this one about the travel itself, all of one week to cover West Point to Williamsburg. This entry is about people, the next about the road, the places.
I won’t linger on this topic—not all readers will know these people. But perhaps you can relate nevertheless; perhaps you have ones in your life who re-appear to bless you as we have been this week.
The blessing of these people can be best summarized this way: Where our relationships were put on “pause,” good friends will release the pause button to resume play. There is no thought given to the time we lost while we were silent to each other. This would lead to some regret, yes, but it’s not considered. If anything there’s a delight in trying to summarize years, even decades, of life as it happened for all of us. And then we all go back and update our files, so to speak. It may not be just as if we were together all that time, but it is nearly so.
That also leads to some personal promises I mutter under my breath—that we will not ever again push the pause button for such a span. Time’s a wastin’ as they say.
So down the east coast we went southwestward, aligned at that angle with the Atlantic on our left. Interspersed with visits that memorialize Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, and Van Gogh are names that are present and alive, still flourishing as we re-touched them, names personally meaningful. With Krissy and Kevin the pause button was not pushed long, just a few months, but the rest were all as if we had grabbed former decades and pulled them present:
Early college and ministry days were lively in the re-telling. The raising of little children to adulthood, seemingly in an instant out of our view, is recounted in just a paragraph of conversation. Pictures on phones passed around the table. We blinked, and several became grandparents.
The whole east coast for us was rich with stories of SCC, Fuller, ministry, long-ago visits, meals and beds on which to sleep, and endurance of various trailer tire episodes (now successfully resolved). You know who you are, and to you our deep thanks.
My senior pass for entrance to federal sites became a moot advantage when those sites barricaded on October 1, but you—each of you—were open for us. You were gracious and playful, you made our shared histories resume again as if there was barely a pause. Thank you.