A quick history of summers in the life of Tiffany:
2008, 2009: Roadtrip
2010: New York City
2012, 2013, 2014: Road trips on steroids, literally back-to-back. I trekked across the country and back three times. I drove alone through deserts and through swampy rain storms. I stayed at hostels, with friends, with strangers. I rode trains and buses for hours on end. I cried and danced and wrote my way from Providence to Napa. I sipped coffee in Chicago, Miami, and Nashville. I ate ramen and street tacos whenever possible in L.A.’s Koreatown. I stayed up late at night in Detroit, drove the coast in Malibu and watched dolphins jump in Santa Barbara.
Last September, the grown-up, road-tested, highway-approved me found a room in Brooklyn where I finally dropped my bags. There I stored my eight plastic bins, my national (and impractical) coffee cup collection and two really fuzzy blankets. I went grocery shopping, changed my address at the post office, and slid my suitcase under the bed. But it took me three months to unpack the boxes of books and keepsakes. I thought I wanted to be “stable.” I even bought an iron skillet to prove it (also impractical; long story). But at night, I fell asleep dreaming of the open road, of places I had yet to see.
2015: I decided I would travel again. I applied for internships in San Francisco and Indianapolis. Hilariously, I even thought about making a break for London. But during Christmas break, while standing on the Santa Monica shore, I knew this season was over for a while. I came home and stopped applying for internships. I stopped looking for tickets to faraway places. Instead, I found a sublet in Brooklyn’s South Slope and got a job at a coffee shop in SoHo. Rest became my word for the winter. Still became my word for the spring and Sabbath became my word for the summer.
Sabbath is about rest, trust and living centered in a hurried world. In other words, Sabbath is everything I’m not: I struggle to be patient. I get anxious often. I am a master to-do list writer and life-planner. I cried on my last birthday because I’m afraid of getting older and I have major FOMO breakouts when I hear anyone talk about airplane tickets. Sabbath is a pause that brings perspective: “What does it matter if a man (woman) gains the whole world, but loses his (her) soul?”
This summer is about lots of surface things like enjoying New York City, friends, gardening, etc.. But it’s also about soul-care. John Ortberg calls the soul the “inner spring” that we are called to steward. If the soul is a spring, then mine is more like a cracked-stone, twig-dry riverbed. These past years have been fun, but I’m exhausted. And in more ways than one. I’m like the woman by the well: I have parched lips, lots of “issues,” and nothing with which to draw Living water.
So then. Here we are. It’s 2015. This summer, I’m staying put. I’ve got my little list of things to do and see, of books to read. I’ve got a place to lay my head and a really good pair of Keds for walking. And while walking, gardening, or making coffee, my soul, my little dry-spring soul will be turned towards heaven. And in the morning and the evening, she will whisper over and over again Isaiah 30:15: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”