Thursday, February 08, 2007

reflections from afar

I'm in Washington DC, the "other" Washington. First, I will tell you that it is bitterly, FREEZING cold here in February. Seriously. AND oh my gosh! It's cold! It did snow the other day, and that was pretty. I was in a hurry as I prepared for this trip, and I didn't think through the logistics very well. I'm taking the metro to the office, and there is a bit of walking involved. Thankfully, I did bring boots (although, walking in the snow with high-heel boots was interesting), pants, a coat, gloves, and a scarf. BUT, my silk long-johns, and a hat would have been beneficial. Really beneficial.

I lived here (well, a bit more in the country...we didn't live down town at all) when I was a child for three years. Eight through eleven. I didn't come back at all until last summer. It's fun to be here again so recently - there is a bit of familiarity in a foreign place.

I become a bit reflective being in a place as an adult where I have childhood memories. I can remember me as a child, but now also remember my parents - and how my current existence is so much like theirs was then. I met a friend for dinner yesterday and was debating if we should meet at the metro stop in Silver Spring or Rockville. It made me pause. My dad used to work in both of those places. To me, "Rockville" and "Silver Spring" mean grown up, mean adult at work, mean impressive adult things happen there. And now I'm taking there metro there to meet a friend. I don't think this happens when you grow up somewhere and stay there. You go through each age, and each experience with the same things around you. As you age, you naturally go places your parents did and do things adults do. Suddenly, you are part of that group, but it doesn't seem sudden or strange at all because you have become part of that group without any drastic observance.

But, when you go back as an adult to a childhood place, there is an abruptness about it. As I put my ticket in the machine at the metro station and wait in the bitter cold, I can't help but think about my dad taking the metro train. He did the same thing. Last night, I waited at the Silver Spring station in the bitter cold for eight minutes (because it was late at night) for the next red-line train to come. I bet that 20 years ago my dad may have waited in that same exact station for his train, complaining abou the bitter cold. Only now, there is a starbucks right next door; the last 20 years has been good to that metro station.

I loved taking going into the city with my parents when I was little. I was in awe of the metro - I thought it was so cool. I bet my dad hated it. He hates crowds. He hates extreme weather. He hates strangers.

I don't remember my parents as adults. I know them now, but as a child, you are so self-centered, that I don't remember them as adult-people. As I become closer to their age that they were when I was young (although, I'm not there yet - I'm now the age that my mom was when she had me), I understand them more. I feel like I know my dad more for having been at his metro stop, waiting in the cold in my nice work clothes.

Last night, I went out to dinner with an old friend. She was one of the "across the street girls" I lived next to when I was little (and lived out here in the country). I stopped by their house when we were here in the summer and the family was still there. Two of three daughters are back living with the parents for a bit, so we got to talk. They invited us back on the 4th of July, which we happily did. It was so wonderful - a Maryland country 4th of July BBQ. I loved it! She and I have emailed a few times since then, and I was so excited that she wanted to get together when I came out.

What a blessing and a joy. I think we will really be friends, which is so funny. I moved away in 1990 - 17 years ago! And we were little: just finished 5th grade. We used to argue about religion (what 10 year old does that!??). Seriously. Their family is Seventh Day Adventist and mine isn't...and we used to get into theology debates, only we didn't know that's what they were called, and we really didn't know how to do it nicely.

And now? We both work for Christian organizations and are living for God's glory. We got to share a blessing over our food, and share what we are learning in Bible study. We've been brought so far. Not one argument. =) Isn't God good? I guess we were always both a bit passionate.

God is good - whether it's 15 degrees, or 50 degrees, and whether you live in Washington or Washington.

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