As I crossed the North Carolina state line early yesterday morning, I instantly felt like I was home. There's something about this state that just makes my heart feel like singing. Ever since I started at Davidson College in 2001, I have felt a strong sense of belonging here. It holds so many special memories, not to mention special people, for me. I feel like I breathe more deeply here.
I felt a similar sense of peace when I was, strangely enough, in Malawi. I hadn't expected to go so far away from home only to experience a deeper sense of belonging and connection than I ever did in DC. One night our team was out eating dinner at a restaurant on the shores of Lake Malawi when I happened to look up into the night sky. I'd never seen anything so breathtaking--the stars so bright and dense. I've never looked at the sky the same way since I got back.
The moment I walked through the door when I got back to DC, I felt that sense of peace disintegrate. The influx of email and phone calls and conference calls overpowered my newly found quietness. "I've got to learn to replicate that sense of quiet," I thought. I began slowly to push out the noise--turning off my email indicator on my phone, putting the computer to sleep by 8 pm, not going to sleep with the TV on. But, I wanted more than just quiet. I wanted connection, community, family.
Being here in North Carolina with Carolina Man, in his beautiful house by the lake, I feel that sense of connection, that sense of peace I thought I'd have to travel to the other side of the world to feel again. I experience myself and the world around me differently here. It's something I think I'd like to get used to.