4: on presence.

Travelling to new places reminds me to be present.

I was in Atlanta last week for #4’s indoor volleyball tournaments. We were in the middle of a city in a convention center that housed about 10000 people. A contrast to our life in the jungle where when I am home, I have to make a concerted effort to see another human.

We stayed in a large hotel with elevators that were enclosed in glass. Twice a day I would have to face my fear of heights. It was also a tight squeeze into this confined space. It was always a cozy ride up with strangers who were mostly Christian. (It was Easter weekend and there was a large Christian convention/gathering at the hotel.)

I loved the casual encounters because they were always friendly and reminded me of Easter weekends of my childhood filled with family gatherings and prayer. This weekend had always marked the beginning of spring.

It became my main focus during the trip – noticing signs of spring. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until we walked through parks and sat under trees with new blossoms and trees with those tiny little green leaves.

New growth is easier to spot in temperate places. As you move close to the equator, the lines blur where decay and growth cancel each other. Life can tend to look the same.

In Atlanta, I become keenly aware of how much my son and my daughter have grown. Maybe it’s because of the novelty of being in a new place where I pay attention to the details. Or maybe it’s just the softer spring sunlight that helps me see better.


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