Today, after too much sleep and a late night Guitar Hero session, I sit here in my home, a 1994 GMC Safari, and I think about this past year.
I've learned many, many things living in this van. I've learned that my faith is much stronger than I had known before, that my belief in myself and my belief in some grand idea of a higher power may be more closely linked than I thought before. They are inexorably intertwined, and they kept me going and will, I hope, continue to keep me going in the worst times. Whatever your faith be, it's fluid, it adapts, it grows as you grow, and your ideas on God or whatever you call it will change to suit you as your needs change. Never in my life have I believed in something with such conviction.
I've learned a thing or two about relationships. I know that you can't fall in love with an idea. People have ideas of who they want to be with, who they think they should be with, and in the process of trying to make that work, they start to lose themselves. I discovered, conversely, that if you fall for someone who you believe you can fix or change, you're only falling for their potential, not who they are, which will ultimately end in disaster. I also found that, no matter how much you've shared with someone, there comes a point where you have to let them go, set the baggage down, and walk away, no matter how comfortable it may feel at times. But most importantly, I've found that when you are most yourself, most real and most pure, that, when you least expect it, you will stumble into a beautiful life who accepts and loves that about you. When you stay true, honest, and loyal to yourself and only yourself, you will be rewarded with the love of one who is mostly made for you, and you will discover you are mostly made for that person. It will be truer love than you've ever known, because you are truer to yourself.
I discovered that we live in an amazing place in difficult times. While I've made this a life choice, I've met and seen others who have made this a life necessity. I can't put all the blame on our standard definition of a government, because I believe that we ARE our government, and we have done little to take responsibility for that. We are a nation with all the power, and we give it to a select few without asking questions or challenging ethics of those we've elected into office. We are a nation with all the money, and we give it to other countries because it's less expensive and more convenient. We are fortunate to have a very liberal (and not pinko-commie "liberal", but freedom and liberty "liberal") Constitution and Bill of Rights that guarantees so much and asks so little, yet we do so little and ask so much. I've learned that I need to be more involved, moreso than simply voting for the lesser of two evils in elections. I've found that true patriotism isn't blind obligation to our decision-makers, nor is it challenging everyone who is in charge, nor is it having faith in Jesus Christ as many claim our nation was founded. True patriotism is knowing who's in charge and making sure they know that it is we who are, in fact, in charge of them and telling those people what we want done. Then we will have our nation back.
I've also learned some finer, trivial points:
1. General Motors makes a fine van, provided you can afford to fix it four times a year.
2. Canned chicken juice will make your house smell really bad when you spill it in the carpet.
3. Showering at the gym isn't so bad.
4. Pooping at Walmart is somewhat vindicating.
5. Fuel pumps cost around $600.
6. It's super handy to have empty pop and bottled water bottles around.
7. It's way easier to add blankets than it is to subtract clothes.
8. Mothers will always worry.
9. Eighteen inchess between the mattress and the ceiling will hurt your forehead in the morning when you forget.
10. When autumn shows up, you should welcome it with open arms.
11. True love only ever happens once.
12. Road trips really aren't that bad, but they're much more rewarding when you have a good friend with you.
14. Always skip the number thirteen.
15. Stickers will get you called a "dirty hippie"
I suppose the moral of the story is never be afraid to do what you want, but realize that there will be tedious labor involved in almost everthing.
Autumn is in the air. Time to enjoy it.