Of Stuffed Cars and Knowing What’s Good for You

Car Stuffed to the Seams

 

And I say, “Oh that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest;

yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness;

I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.”

– Psalm 55:6-8

On Monday, June 8th, 2015, I stuffed Sofia (my Corolla) to the seams and hit the road. I was returning to my hometown of Knoxville after what has begun to feel like a seven-year exile. There are so many things (mostly deeply-loved people… and cornfields… and 1418 Coffeehouse) that I will miss about Texas; but everything in my being clamors that this is Home, and it is time to be here. It is probably confirmation that I’ve been in Knoxville for about three days, and all the health problems I’d been dealing with for over a year are just gone. I’ve gained about 15 pounds since January, and this is a good thing. For a while there, the numbers on the scale and the clothing tags were an obsession. Then the year of misadventure carried with it so much stress that losing weight was just a natural consequence. It felt amazing to reach a goal I had previously thought impossible… and then to go beyond it. But that’s when the health problems set in. I felt weak constantly and couldn’t run the way I used to. The bizarre symptoms of Raynaud’s Phenomenon had flared up: blanch-white fingertips when I was cold and under stress. This is one of the main reasons I knew that Tennessee soil would be good for me. It was time for a transplant.

I’m beginning to think that both our physical bodies and our souls crave what we need in order to be healthy and whole.

It feels like the earth is breathing restfully – resting in its quiet splendor and embracing me in rest too.

This week I keep finding myself standing in my parents’ driveway, surrounded by giant, gentle trees; and it feels like the earth is breathing restfully – resting in its quiet splendor and embracing me in rest too.

I’m looking forward to learning what “true healthy” feels like. Pretty soon I will be strong enough to conquer the hills in my parents’ neighborhood (if I can adjust to the elevation!) and hike the Chimneys. I’m surrounded by this great green earth and happy chirping birds and sparkling stars and fireflies and loved ones I’ve missed for years. This is the place where I first was found by the Divine – found by the Beauty I’d been chasing. I used to lie for hours under the stars in the backyard, whispering wonder to the glory twinkling through the pinholes of winter sky. Thankfulness swells within me to this One who, it seems, has moved heaven and earth to bring me back.

12 Comments

  1. Beautifully written. Glad you’re back home.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Ayeshia… I truly hope we can stay in touch. I’ll be down to visit in November, so hopefully I can catch you at church. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Ashley, you will be missed in Allen, but I certainly understand what you are feeling. I felt the exact same way when I moved back to East Texas after being in Dallas for 5 years! Sometimes you just need to go back home!! Best wishes with your new adventure!

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    • Thanks for the sweet support, Lyn! I guess everyone has a different sense of “home,” as well as a limit for being away from it! 🙂 Is this move to East Texas current?

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  3. Glad you will be at home…you will be missed. Best of luck!!! 🙂

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    • I will miss you too, Ivone! I never got to work with you closely, but I always loved crossing paths with you in the hallways. I love your sweet and kind spirit! Many, many blessings to you and your family!

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  4. Ashley, You are truly one of a kind…..a person with a huge heart and gentle spirit…..and a love and compassion for others. All of us in Allen, Texas and Allen ISD will miss you each and every day! Yet….we can rest in knowing that you will soon make a huge difference and impact on the lives of so many others in your new home town……Take care,

    Reply
    • Debbie, you are so kind. Thank you for the sweet and encouraging words. And please, keep those baby pictures coming! I am enjoying following your new adventures… many blessings to your family!

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  5. Dear friend you are great writer and you are writing from the bottom of your heart and that is wonderful, I will miss your presence but you always will be in my mind like a excellent teacher, awesome person a the most important a great soul, please keep in touch, love

    Reply
    • Amiga, I miss you already! It always lit up my heart to see my students practically applaud you when you walked in my classroom each day. Thank you for always giving the best of yourself to them… and to me! 🙂 Yes, yes, please let’s keep in touch!

      Reply
  6. You have such a sweet and loving soul-you will be missed in Allen but doing what feels right is usually best – you will be successful where ever you are -much happiness

    Reply
    • Karen, thank you for the sweet encouragement! I will miss being in Allen so much… I carry you all with me in my heart. Much happiness and blessings to you as well!

      Reply

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