Today is our 12-year anniversary, so we high-tailed it to Chicago for an over-nighter.
You may have already gathered that we're not big City people, but every time I go, I love this place a little more.
The vibe is quirky. Extra-bright.
It's practically in our backyard, and I hereby solemnly swear to visit more often.
For all of the gray that it can be, there's an awful lot of life blooming, too.
There's color and expression and the raucous heartbeat of souls who want to be seen and known.
And I can relate to that.
For all of the history, there's an equal length of awakening.
For all of the glass and steel, there's skin and smiles and hands that have lived a life.
I finished a book on the train ride over (more on that in a few days) and it's changing me.
It's nudging me more toward the girl I was made to be.
I was made to be a bit of a rebel-rouser. (You were, too.)
So I walked the streets and the shops. I saw a man with years etched into his sandpaper cheeks and it sprang to my mind, "He is a child of God."
I saw a guy with wild eyes and hair broader than his shoulders. He's a child of God.
I saw a young mama with her baby, tiny earrings in her seashell ears, candy colored beads in her hair. Both children of God.
On and on it went. And with every acknowledgement of truth, my soul steadied a bit.
Our differences aren't dangerous. They set us apart, is all.
Because mostly, we're the same.
I won't pretend that this trip was all about soul-searching, because the truth is, I did some shopping, too.
I bought a blazer made of gray fleece.
A blazer! Made of sweatpants!
God bless the Scandinavians.
Cory took pictures while I shopped.
I yanked the camera out of his hands every now and then and took a few of my own, but not many. Dude's got a tight grip on that machine.
Why am I making this eerie face?
Because I wasn't aware that I was being photographed, that's why.
When I'm aware of such things, I try to smile.
Smiling wasn't hard on this trip. For one thing, we didn't leave my bag on the train platform this time. For another thing, I was with my favorite person on the planet.
(Also, there was good food and sleeping in and a really funny movie.)
He made me smile.
And yep, he's a child of God. My brother.
The weekend was a great reminder to me that I have no idea what the future has in store for me.
Walking around in a foreign land has that effect on a girl.
It serves as a small reminder that the world stretches quite a bit further than my two front pastures.
Honestly, I'd love to spend the rest of my days wrapped up in a cornfield, but it turns out there aren't many other people in the cornfields I've visited, so I just don't see that happening.
I'm getting the clear sense that I was made to mingle, and not just with my own personal peeps.
So thank you, Chicago.
Thank you for your lessons and your love.
We'll be back before you know it.
* Six of the photos on this post were taken by me, the rest by CMB. I'll let you decide. But choose carefully. Veddy, veddy carefully.