Four airports. Three planes. Two stops. One day. All because my first flight out of Dulles was delayed beyond the point of making a connection in Atlanta. Delta pinballed me through Cincinnati and Salt Lake City before I landed in Tucson. The cross-country adventure left me undeniably cranky and exhausted.
Driving back through the Old Pueblo, I missed the color of Virginia and the beautiful rural spreads. Alabaster replaced green and adobe stood in for brick. I looked upon the mountains and the buildings as if I were seeing them for the first time. I stopped by KOLD to check up on my colleagues and say hello, but as I entered the building, a tingle of unfamiliarity crept up on me, reminding me how I had learned to live without phones and wires and monitors.
I regaled my weekend staffers with tales from the Old Dominion, ones they hadn't already read here.
"You're going to need to check my pulse when I come back to work on Tuesday. I left my heart in Virginia."
Or maybe part of it is broken, distressed at resuming a desk job after days of enriching my mind and blessing families and spending time with people I love as much as my own family. Even the ordinary act of posing for pictures with dozens of people over a week's time in Williamsburg instills warmth deep within me. My normal life and time appears so artificial in comparison.
What's real is marching through the woods in a flanking maneuver... storming a battlefield with a rifle in hand... supping with a family at their invitation... teaching people how to dance... sharing a turn or two with a beautiful girl... laughing and toasting in the upper floor of a historic tavern, in full period costume... bowing to the ladies... wearing a three-cornered hat... feeling your heritage... and praying together.
I have to remind myself I can't just ditch this life for work in Virginia as a living historian, as much as I might enjoy it. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"
I know I can't understand mine. God has a path set out for me, even if I can't see all of it. Loving and serving others is part of it, but the rest is unclear. What am I here to do? Am I in the wrong profession? Has God purposed me for something else than producing newscasts?
Perhaps the best thing for me to do is to keep on praying... and plunge back into my other life and time, before the cloud of despair distracts and consumes me.
But Long Live Virginia inside of me.