The Dirt It Takes

"Most folks live and die without moving anything more than the dirt it takes to bury them."
- Zachariah, Supernatural, Season 4, Episode 17 "It's a Terrible Life"

My sister Sophie and I spent most of our childhood finding kittens. One was curled up in the back of a brick hole near the back of our house. Another was in an old wooden desk that had been discarded years ago in the pile near our backyard gully. He made a terrible ruckus, meowing at the top of his tiny lungs, which led us to his discovery and his name. Others were just wandering around the yard, sometimes covered in used fried chicken grease that our mom haphazardly slung out the backdoor, other times huddled by a window and peering inside as a plea for hurricane protection.

My sister Sophie and I also spent a good deal of our childhood hiding things. The silverware she hated washing got thrown out the backdoor as hard as her 11-year-old arms could toss. The vegetables I didn't want to eat got hidden under napkins until my dad could walk by and sneakily eat them so I would be allowed to leave the table. We'd hide when mom tried to give one of us a probably not well-deserved whoopin', and Sophie would always hide me from the bright lightening and booming thunder that was so frighteningly characteristic of deep south summers.

Hide and seek. That was the game that built us.

Mud pies were made and dared to be eaten, chase was given and strong objections to being caught pleaded, and the rich soil that made our piece of Alabama grow so green was washed off our palms and knees at the end of each day, ready to be replaced tomorrow.

I remember her first date with my now brother-in-law, Tim. I remember when she first realized she loved him. I remember when he proposed. I remember their perfect wedding on September 7. Most vividly, I remember the fear I felt that the dirt it took to build us wouldn't be enough to hold us. I'm glad I was wrong.

Terrified of losing the woman I knew for decades as "My Sophie," I have instead happily gained a brother, and one I think our father would've appreciated as well.

These years that I've been traveling have been ones where I've tried to find myself, discover myself, and uncover some truths about myself. This time has been integral in establishing who I am and what I don't want for my life. However, it's also been a time where I worry about time and how much of it I might be missing.

Signing Sophia & Tim's Marriage License
I was in China when Tim proposed to Sophia, in Egypt during their engagement party, and traveling in Luxor when she went wedding dress shopping. I was gone, only available by a 6 hour time lag video chat to be part of my partner's big moments.

Now that I'm on another continent, in another country, at another school, I worry about what I'll miss next. A housewarming? A pregnancy announcement? First steps?

What I'm exploring for myself feels significant, but I also feel disconnected from the most important things in my life, which include my family, my faith, and the feeling of being down in the dirt and connected to land that will shape my future.

I know what I'm trying to hide from, to run from, but I've lost track of what I'm seeking. How do I get that purpose, that drive that I used to have burning so brightly within me back? I want to be passionate about this life I've been given; I want to move and shake and quake and prove that my birth was significant.

Missing my family is a constant in this life I've currently chosen, but missing their lives isn't something I'm willing to sacrifice. I'm in the weeds right now, trying to dig my way to something greater than myself and coming up filthy, yet wanting.

More time.

I still don't know what I do want for my life, as weeding out negatives has proved far easier than deciding on positives, but I feel closer to the answers I've been so desperately seeking for the better half of my post-graduation life, and I hope I'm always close to My Sophie.