by Tara Schwartz
The feelings I have for you extend far beyond your borders. You are part of my identity, my soul. Who would I be now without you?
What would Bethel and Kansas mean to me? I ask myself what they mean now because of you.
Home consumed my thoughts some days, but in all this time you said you were with me, too. Your splendor entered through the rays of sun in my eyes, a vintage car parading your streets (for you knew I loved those old things), finding a new nook of nature. Sometimes I felt I was playing tug-of-war, between thoughts of you and home, but I know now that you wanted me to experience what only you could provide, bringing focus to both your beauty and what I loved so much about home.
You are now home to me, too, housed in my heart when I cannot be with you.
I had to fight many a time for what I wanted, but this fight wasn’t against you, only against myself. You tried to intervene when possible, before these mental spins took over. They would eventually fade away, but the best resolutions were from your healing embrace.
It was moments between us and God, moments I knew I’d seen the right person, been in the right place—that’s what kept me going. It was seeing a friend on the way to the grocery store, or en route to the library. It was the smile on a child’s face, or the girl on the bike who stopped to thank me after I let her pass by. “Danke, dass du mir einen Platz gegeben hast.” Words I’ll never forget.
When I hear your name unexpectedly, it jolts my emotional being. I yearn then for your land, your bread, and your people. I desire a transporter, a free ticket back over.
Yesterday, I found these old plant fragments while cleaning out the front pocket of my backpack, your hand reaching out to me. My nail kept running over that surface again and again, gleaning these pieces of German nature from the creases of this pocket. How much you wanted me to seek your face in those moments! I could not help but think that my habit of plant-picking (occasionally kleptomaniac) led up to this. My own face was overcome with tears of joy and sadness, realizing what you had just done.
You know how to reach my inner core when I do not.
I promise we will meet again.