Heading East

A few months ago, I traveled to places South.

A journey to learn about my dad, my family roots, and more about myself, too.

Today, I’m headed to places East.

Krakow, Poland. By Taylor Smith

Krakow, Poland. By Taylor Smith

These are places where I grew deep,
places where I learned more than I did in most classrooms from my 20 years in school.

The sleeping on mats on church floors,
brushing teeth with strangers,
making fruit dumplings with the most hospitable woman, and we didn’t even speak a common language,
save the language of the heart, and the stomach. I’ve found that those languages often speak louder than words.

These friendships that were born in places East,
oh, they are sweet — sweeter than slices of pineapple fresh from the plantation.

TR 4
To call them friends isn’t quite accurate.
Some are like sisters and brothers.
Like the first time you meet family members that you grew up without knowing and, somehow, you miraculously “get” each other. No words are needed to make up the absence.

Sometimes words don’t apply because you don’t share the same ones.

And words so often fail. They are man-made, anyway.

These precious moments East happened two years ago,
but part of me has never left.

Team Granola with the youth group in Zábřeh.

Team Granola with the youth group in Zábřeh.

Some have told me I had a “mountaintop experience.”
That I was saturated in an intense mixture of beautiful people and places,
and those things don’t last forever.

Sometimes these mountaintop moments make you feel like you should give up all that you have going and just stay there.

Yes, that quite possibly describes the euphoria that was East. Days were not always easy, but they were some of the most rewarding ones I have experienced yet.

I don’t believe that I left the mountain looking back and lusting over what was.

I think that mountain became part of who I am.
That pieces of granite and dust and wildflower petals wedged their way between my toes.
I feel the tingle of East most every day, reminded by a ring that rarely leaves a silver chain around my neck.

Field of poppies in the countryside in Czech. Taylor Smith.

Field of poppies in the countryside in Czech. Taylor Smith.

I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
And I am so grateful that my Abba Father has opened the door for me to head East once more,
to say “hello, friends”,
to hug and laugh and dance and sing,
to eat and converse and reflect and rejoice,
to wander and walk and sit and rest.

This journey East,
I know little of what to expect.

So I lay down my agenda before my Loving Father, who I know has planned each and every step,
that I don’t have to worry about one single minute.

I look forward to sharing part of this journey with you.
May peace and Joy fill your heart through the adventure you live each day —
for that is life, regardless of where you are and what you do.

Life is adventure. I hope you live it that way.


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