There is a sort of irony in the naming of this blog. Contrary to first glance, it is not a spell from Harry Potter or the motto of some secret society. In fact, much of the inspiration came from my friend, Jack Artois, whose recent exposure to the Nautilus persuaded him to tattoo “Mobilis in Mobili” on his forearm. Translated from Latin, this simply means “movement in motion” and is the cry of a truly transient soul.
Keeping with the Latin (while also referencing my current city of residence), I decided to mirror the same idea. Those who know me know I have walked many different roads since graduation from high school. With the longest time in one place being nine months, my life has been anything but stationary.
Therefore, as I deliberated upon my time in Mobile, I regarded the city as just another dot on the map—a blip on the radar, a beat in the steady rhythm of motion. I made plans in my head, a timeline in my thoughts. I decorated my new house, picked out my new dog, walked the trails winding near my house in the mountains. My eggs were in one basket and hatching fast.
Those of you beyond me in wisdom, years, or both, know what comes next. You know of Life’s tendency to see our cards and bet accordingly. You know as soon as plans become concrete, the wrecking ball of circumstance turns them to rubble.
It may seem surprising I am just now learning this lesson, and be assured it’s not the first of its kind to cross my path. Several times in my adolescent naivety, I was sure my heart had found its counterpart, only to be surprised by reality. However, this is the first time such a lesson has crossed from relationships into the realm of my career plans. Every other decision in this vein: Italy, Canada, Bryan, Nashville—worked without problem or difficulty, a fact perhaps most noticeable in my time in Nashville. I literally packed my car and drove to Nashville without a job or a place to live. Within a week I had both.
Based on these previous experiences, I believed my time in Mobile would be spent choosing another destination and preparing for departure. I didn’t even bother unpacking. However, as March turned to April and became July, a slow and steady feeling of unfamiliarity crept into my head. Questions and doubts reproduced like rabbits in spring.
What happens if I don’t leave? What happens if I don’t find a job? Where am I going to live? How am I going to pay my bills? What will I do for the rest of my life? What happened to my independence?
It was the first time I had decided to do something—planned everything on that something—and then had that something take a train to Denver without so much as a kiss goodbye. I panicked. I realized I was completely helpless when it came to making my mark on the wide open world.
(Admittedly, there is something we call “The American Dream,” which says each of us can become anything we want to become. Each of us has the power to pull our lives from the gutter by our bootstraps. I cannot say this for certain, but I would imagine that if one were to choose the greatest examples of the American Dream’s fulfillment, one would find several instances where the dreamer was aided by forces beyond his or her control or knowledge. Charitable donors, prestigious sponsors, freak accidents, or other factors which offered assistance in the dark)
The realization of helplessness collided with determination and the two waged war for several months before I succumbed to a lack of control over my life. No matter how many hours I scoured websites, called principals, or emailed resumes, there was nothing I could possibly do to create a job. Sure I could increase my chances with persuasive cover letters, personable phone calls, and genuine hard work, but when the sun set I was just another pawn in the hands of the Master.
This struggle had severe affects on my physical, mental, and spiritual health. Physically, I was exhausted. Mentally, I was devastated. Spiritually, I was starved.
In God’s grace, He allowed me the wisdom to see only one of these areas of my life provided peace. I had come face to face with my physical helplessness so that route was closed. My mental health has always been fragile, and I would rather trust a feather not to float than to place any authority on my mental fortitude. Therefore, the only possibility of strength and stability was my spiritual health, and I pursued it with the fervor of a starving man at feast.
“Seek and you will find.”
Each day, God continued to give me a passion for Him and for His Word, and each day I found my perspective shifting from my future to His Future. He blessed me with friends who enjoy my company and encourage me to be content. He blessed me with parents who are patient and supportive. He blessed me with a job to pay immediate bills and allow for the occasional entertainment. But most of all, He blessed me with a constant reminder of my complete reliance upon Him for my future.
I would like to say this means I am without problem or difficulty, but those of you who know the Christian existence, know this is not a promise He will make. Most of the time, these problems are the result of my stubborn attempts to guess God’s next move and act accordingly. I only hope He continues to force me to a place of humility, a place where I surrender every ounce of control to Him. I only hope He doesn’t grow impatient with my interference and give up control to myself.
A farmer lived with his wife in the fields of Northern Missouri. Together they passed through each of Love’s unique and beautiful stages. The man was a bit quiet, the woman a bit stubborn. The man a bit wise, the woman a bit of a pest. Each Sunday they drove a dusty road, through dusty pastures, to a dusty church. It was the only time they rode together, and for good reason because throughout their marriage the man had never once allowed the woman to drive. Now, some might think this extreme, but he had his reasons. You see, he loved the woman more than he loved anything. He loved her more than the sun when it rose over the valley. More than the sky when it rained on the barn roof. He loved her more than he loved himself. And the man knew, if he ever let her drive, she would hurt herself beyond repair. She pleaded, cried, kicked, screamed, and cursed, but his zeal outlasted and each Sunday he drove in silence, listening to her rant about the unfairness of things. Some weeks she instead coached him on every aspect of driving, as if to show him she was capable of handling it on her own. “Turn here. Watch out for that car. Put on your brake. Go faster. Go slower.”
For thirty years, this continued until finally, for a reason the old man never admitted, he handed her the keys and opened the driver side door. She nearly fainted onto the driveway but managed to slide into the seat just the way she had seen him all those years. She shifted into gear, backed out of the driveway, and roared down the gravel road like a comet streaking across the sky.
They never made it to church. They never made it a mile. The truck veered off the road and into a dry riverbed. The man pried his door open and pulled his wife from the wreckage. She was alive. Her face was scratched, her arms and legs bruised. Blood trickled down her neck. The man wiped it away and held her for several minutes. Everything was motionless in the riverbed until the woman stirred in his lap and handed over the keys.
The next Sunday, the woman, in all of her bandaged humility, sat in the passenger seat. Silence lasted until they reached the second turn, when through muffled gauze she whispered, “You’re going to slow.”
I know this analogy isn’t perfect, and I am sure some of you will draw some ridiculous conclusion that I am somehow against women driving or against women in general.
The point is: I am the woman. We are all the woman. I tell God what to do. I scream and yell and cry because I think He should have done something differently. I cry injustice when I am not allowed to make a decision for myself, or when a decision I make is not allowed. Even though, in all of my life, the only times I neared destruction occurred when I was behind the wheel. In my head I know each second I am in charge is a second closer to my soul’s demise. Yet I still want control. I still feel some strange urge to critique His driving, when what I need is to sit still and appreciate the scenery.
So for now. I am in the passenger seat. We have stopped in Mobile, Alabama, and we will leave when He is ready to leave. I am very much enjoying the scenery, the relationships, and the growth of His Spirit within me. Foolish of me to think one had to be physically moving to be considered a wanderer.
We are all wanderers.
Far from home.