My friend Michael works out of town. Over the past two years, I swear he has worked every single place in the United States except for where he lives. He is typically gone for two weeks at a time, and then he gets to be home for a weekend. Two weeks on the road, one weekend at home. Two weeks on the road, one weekend at home.
I remember once he came home on a Friday and we were eating cheeseburgers on his front porch, and he told me that the scariest part of his job was that he realized how quickly things change. It’s like when weeds grow in your yard: You don’t see them growing if you sit on the porch and stare at them. Michael said he saw weeds growing all over his hometown, and that was kind of scary.
We have a tendency to be afraid of the unexpected and the unknown, and change can be both of those things. Change gives you no time to prepare, no announcement of its arrival. Sometimes we initiate change, but sometimes it just shows up. Sometimes change is big, like birth and death big. Sometimes it is simply not seeing someone as much as you used to, and eventually you don’t ever talk and you aren’t really sure why that is.
It is a hard animal to wrestle with, this change that besets all of us. This strange concept that we all experience at the same time but also walk through alone.
I was listening to this song when I left Pensacola, the place where I went to school and lived for four years. I had driven to and from that town so many times, and it was a very unsettling feeling driving away without any intention of permanently returning. It was change, and I knew whenever I did come back, I would be greeted by change. But this song reassured me.
So many of my negative thoughts and feelings spend time in my head as a swirling mist, undefined and impossible to catch or describe. And often times that keeps me from talking to people about them, even those closest to me. I just can’t find words, and I think that is why this song means so much to me. It puts words behind my fears of the future and the unknown. It gives a defined space to that mist. It offers no resolution, but it offers a sense of solidarity that I am not the first person to be here, to be tired of being sad, to be scared of not recognizing my friends. I find hope in the defined space, and I feel comfort in shared experience.