For whatever reason I decided to check Rachel Held Evans latest blog post. Imagine my surprise when I find this is what it says.
That evergreen farmland full of fruit trees seemed like a long time ago now. Leaving was the right decision of course. She was loved and cherished growing up among the small minded people who lived in the land of perpetual sunlight, but she'd matured and needed to see the world they forbade her to visit for herself. She knew deep down that she never could settle down and be happy here, however much she tried—she just couldn’t get over their simple ways and strict prohibitions. That was fine for them; she didn’t begrudge them their simplicity even if she did look down on them.
She was meant for more. She was going to see the wonders that the hide bound villagers who were content to live in the green meadows never would. They’d warned her, but they couldn’t see what she did. So she’d left.
And oh! How wrong they were. How close they were to such beauty and yet still so far. It surprised her how near they’d lived to it, how short the trip was to get to the magnificence of fall waiting right outside their boundary markers. The reds, oranges, yellows, the leaves of every single tree dying beautifully as they fell. The simpletons couldn’t appreciate this, they’d never walk the path far enough to see it, being bound by the shackles of fear. But here, plainly, was love expressed in the highest form—in dying. It was pleasant going, with enough fruit trees still to never need be hungry, even if it was beginning to rot. But she couldn’t stop, because now she’d been proven right about needing to leave. And that meant there was even more beauty ahead.
The fall turned to early winter and the fruit trees were replaced with tall pines that dropped needles that smelled heavenly when crushed, proving once again the villagers were wrong. It was lovely here too in a way. The sunlight streaming through the branches, the canopy overhead, the iron consistency of the bark of the trees. There was little to sustain her soul, but she had what she’d brought with her and it wasn’t a big concern. Surely up ahead there would be a land where there was more to eat. Or so she had thought.
As it turns out she was only half right. Further along was a foreboding place where the trees began to die. It gave her pause. Here was beauty, but it was a cold kind, an inhospitable kind, the kind that will kill you and eat you. It was sharp and thin and took her remaining joy away.
Tired of walking she sat down on a pointy gray rock to recover some strength. She was getting hungry. The provisions she’d brought with her had run out and she was reduced to eating what she could find on the ground, which turned out to be mostly stinging beetles and worms. The air itself had become ashen, like Mordor from Lord of the Rings.
She looked around again, modifying her opinion. It couldn’t rightly be described as ugly exactly, it was more that there was no love here, no light, no hope to animate the world. If she was going to continue it couldn’t be because this place was rewarding, it had to be because her will was made of sterner stuff than steel. But she was human, and tired, and therefore quite by accident fell into nostalgia thinking about her childhood. If only there was a way to have the fruits of the village here with her. Or perhaps some of that sunlight. What a place this would be.
She stood back up, her determination strengthening. She was thinking about this all wrong—she needed to embrace the beauty of this place, become one with it. Acceptance was the highest good. But her practical nature asserted itself again, reminding her in some way acceptance was impossible: everything was dead and that meant pressing on.
She cursed those simpletons living in the easy land now. Going back to be among them was impossible. Just one step at a time. She wrapped her scarf around her mouth to keep out the ash and held back the memories that threatened to upset her. Life wasn't about the destination, it was about the journey. Even through the land of ash and stone.
Tell me that’s not exactly what this says.
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