"It just feels...right." That thought runs loops in my brain whenever we're in Tennessee. I wasn't born there, but I grew up under the shadow of those hazy blue hills. I'm old enough to know that home isn't really found at any one location but rather with those you love. Yet, I can't say that I don't feel a settling, a familiar contentment, whenever we get the opportunity to visit.
We left a day earlier than originally planned and after a long hot ride, we stopped at a favored lookout spot right at twilight. The air was purple and cold. Our noses turned red from the mountain wind snapping about us like some wild thing. We stretched our legs, took a few pictures and continued on. Our road led us down twisted highways, spooling through drowsy mountains, forgotten towns and, finally, right back to the well-loved faces who welcome us the same way every time.
There were hugs and happy hums in our spirit. There was Claire in all her sweet glory and her parents, who aren't just family but very dear friends as well. There was a lot of Behr begging everyone to "Sit! Sit!" and look out windows for, "Burhs!" (birds). His Nana and Papa were happy to oblige. There was a big, loud, dinner with extended family and lots of babies and laughter. I sadly didn't get pictures of that but it's captured fondly in my memory. There were late night talks. There was spring sunshine and hopeful conversations about coming changes. There were walks in the woods and asking, "What if...?" as if it were some secret shared between children. There was southern food in our bellies and falling asleep tired from so much goodness. It's well-worn rhythm that I can still hear playing when it gets quiet enough.
Why this place? I ask myself that often. I don't have an answer yet. Jonathan and I have found ourselves in a season of wrestling with big questions and thrilling answers. This struggle we're in; we're praying and feeling our way along a rough path we've never walked. We're not sure of our footing most days, but we do know where we want to end up. We do know we don't walk alone.
We left early on Tuesday morning while the sun was still asleep. We somehow ended up right back at our lookout just as she was loosening her golden tresses over the valley. Behr was still wearing his red airplane pajamas from the night before and I was much too tired to put on make up or a coordinated outfit. We watched our boy run underneath the waking sun. She laughed in his hair and touched my skin and warmed the rounded shoulders of the mountains. We breathed it in for a quick minute before packing ourselves back up and turning North.
I look at pictures of that moment and ache inside. Is it alright to want this? To want my son to know these mountains. To want my husband to feel free and unburdened and not so tired from work all the time? Is it alright to pray for a bit of relief?
You know that old song, 'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus? It started playing on Pandora while I was typing out these words. As if my Savior was saying, "Give me those hopes, Breanne. Place them right here in My open hands. I planted the mountains and hung the sun for that exact moment of Behr running happily in the light. I can certainly handle the ordaining of your future."
Before we left, Jonathan caught Behr turning his face toward the morning light. She cupped his face and we laughed at the ridiculous joy of it all. Later I saw it, painted as clear as the rising sun and brighter than any star in the heavens; His ever-shining faithfulness. Maybe that's what the little boy in the red pajamas was pointing his chubby finger at on Tuesday morning, the higher ways of our God.
Can you feel it now? That warming of a soul unfurling in the light of His love, the courage to wait on the promise of my Father.