Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The close of classes often coincides with a great exodus of students from campus, seminarians fanning out across the country to visit family and friends. Much of our own family lives in the states bordering Lake Michigan – it’s one of the reasons we chose to come to LSTC – but last weekend I took a special holiday trip to the Southwest to visit my grandparents.

I love traveling. For this trip, I brought along my California playlist (twenty songs about the Golden State, carefully arranged) and the new anthology State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America. This latter is a collection of essays in the McSweeney’s mold, fifty writers telling stories to illustrate why they love the state where they are from, or the state where they live now, or the state where they had lived once and, like a lost love, have never forgotten.

Driving through the desert, passing its praying Joshua trees, reading a book about place, I couldn’t help but find myself wondering where on God’s sandy earth we’ll land next year. The ELCA Assignment process begins, more or less, at the end of February. I suppose this makes these in-between months a time of waiting, of preparation, an extended sort of Advent.

A few days later, just as my return flight was beginning its descent into Chicago, I turned a page to find the essay on Illinois, in which Dave Eggers argues that the Land of Lincoln is the "best of all states." I finished the chapter on the bus ride to Hyde Park, closed the book, and walked through the snowdrifts and the icy wind back to our apartment.

For now, after all, this is still home. And I can't think of a better place in which to spend our time of waiting.

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