Friday, August 7, 2009

California Withdrawals

I woke up this morning, curtains drawn, windows closed and the only sound coming from the AC unit. Peeked out the window to a white-ish sky, saturated with humidity.


I hoped it wouldn’t happen. I prayed it wouldn’t happen. I tried to mentally psyche myself up so it wouldn’t happen.

But after seven mornings of waking up to cool ocean breezes running through open windows, the sound of water running down a fountain and a gorgeous view of a California canyon, I couldn’t help myself.

I’m in a Florida funk.

I can’t pinpoint what it is that I love about California. To an outsider (my husband), the hills are always dusty brown, the flowers’ colors are muted, and the traffic sucks. For me, on this sojourner’s journey on earth, it’s the closest thing I’ll get to home.

Trader Joe’s, farmer’s markets, hills and mountains, “the 5,” the PCH, the air, the desert flowers, the Mediterranean houses, the eco-awareness, the love of nature, the runners, the cold cold ocean water, the bonfires on the beach, the grandpa surfers, the food, the sunsets over the water, the access to culture, the love of life. It’s all there and it all speaks to me.

I met Jesus in California. When I was little, I used to hike to a special spot near a stream to dip my feet and pray. When I was older, my Biblestudy camped out under the stars on a beach near Malibu. The ocean, the sand, the boulders and cliffs, the trails, the trees, the streams—I’ve met God in those places. Words were whispered, scripture came to life, and a little girl’s spirit learned to dance.

Before every trip back to California, I psyche myself up by focusing on several truths: my family’s here in Florida, my husband and I share ministry here in Florida, we have a nice house, friends, and purpose here. God has richly blessed us and we know this is where he wants us.

I tried, really, I did. To practice contentment. And I was happy to be simply visiting the whole time we were there.

But this morning hit with a vengeance. Like a drunkard’s hangover.

I’ll get out of my funk. I’ll see my friends tomorrow, and I’ll go to church on Sunday, and I’ll see my parents this month and will probably even visit the beach. The humidity will dissipate. I’ll go kayaking and will appreciate the brackish waters and the mangrove trees. I’ll rediscover my joy here, and will thank God for his providence.

For now, though, much should not be expected of me. The afternoon belongs to pouting and cold coffee. California’s a hard one to get over.

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