By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? (Psalms 137:1-4)
. . .
I first stumbled upon these verses when I was 19 and far away from home for the stretch of a six-month semester abroad in London. It was actually in my humanities textbook, not in the Bible itself, where I first discovered these words but I immediately turned to Psalms and marked them in my scriptures, that brown leather quad I still use. Those words felt like my own.
I hadn't been taken captive to London, though. It was my fiercest desire to explore the world; studying in London felt like a dream wrested into reality. And yet the nostalgia--for home, familiarity, and for people who knew and understood me--seeped in. More than that, I felt vulnerable and unsure of my song in that new, strange land. Was it even worth singing? Did it matter? (I learned: Yes it was. Yes it did.)
I felt those words then and have felt them with every move, both physical ones into new places and figurative ones with each new stage and iteration of our family's development. I feel them now.
Oh, I feel them. We are not captive but we are removed, far removed from the familiar and the familial.
We are blessed here, immensely grateful for the good things this adventure has brought us on many levels, but beneath all that I will admit I have struggled a fair bit to get my footing this time around. But, as with every other new wilderness I've experienced, as I stumble my way through the footholds and handholds eventually appear (though often not where and when I expect) and I stretch to reach them.
And (tentatively, tenaciously) I raise my voice and sing. Like Dorothy's red shoes, this has really been the answer all along.
Watching: My mom recommended the A&E series Longmire and G and I have been loving it. The characters are well developed and compelling. (That Walt Longmire. Sigh.) It makes me miss the stunning landscapes and distinct sensibilities of the American West, though. We've been watching an episode or two a night and I'll miss that daily dose when we catch up. (Fingers crossed for a Season Four, y'all.)
Reading: I loved The Meaning of Names (see my N&L post about it here). Right now I'm reading Neylan McBaine's How To Be a Twenty-First Century Pioneer Woman and Robert Galbraith's (aka JK Rowling) The Silkworm.
- Chopin's Grande Polonaise for Piano and Orchestra/Andante Spianoto, Op. 22 (do you remember it from the movie The Pianist?). So gorgeous.
- Like Real People Do by Hozier. Maddy and I both discovered this separately and it's on our current favorite playlists.
- Wave by Beck is one of those calming, gorgeous tracks that fit any setting. I have it on my writing/studying playlist.
- It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards: we love Tame Impala. This one has hints of vintage Beatles in a really good way. We dance backwards in slow motion when this comes on.