In Others’ Words: Where Have You Been?

Beth Vogt In Others' Words, perspective, Quotes 17 Comments

girl standing on a beach at sunset

girl standing on a beach at sunset

 Where has life taken you?

That’s not a rhetorical question.

I want to know: where has life taken you?

  • What geographical locations have you seen?
  • Cities. States. Provinces. Countries.
  • What mountains have you climbed or skied?
  • What lakes or oceans have you plunged into?
  • Where have you sat and watched the sun rise or set?
  • What place holds your heart captive, calling you to return because you were there once, long ago, and were changed by the experience?

Years ago, before we lived in Colorado, my family lived in the panhandle of Florida — Niceville, Florida, to be exact. There are still grains of white sand in my heart. Our eight years there changed me. I learned to love hush puppies and red beans and rice and sweet, sweet tea. But I also learned what true friendship was … and I learned to live without my masks and be just Beth.

Yes, Florida became a part of me.

In Your Words: Where have you been? How has it become a part of you?

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Comments 17

  1. I love the way Tennyson addressed this, in ‘Ulysses’:

    I am a part of all that I have met;
    Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
    Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
    For ever and forever when I move.
    How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
    To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
    As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
    Were all too little, and of one to me
    Little remains: but every hour is saved
    From that eternal silence, something more,
    A bringer of new things; and vile it were
    For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
    And this gray spirit yearning in desire
    To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
    Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

    For me it’s an interesting question; in dreams I am being forced to revisit the places that I have been, to feel the hard kick of a rifle, to smell the copper-penny miasmic odor of blood, to hear the screams that I had not, and have not now, the power to calm.

    I never believed in the signifigance of dreams, but apparently Someone else does. And by God, do I hate this.

    I don’t want to go back to where I went. But it seems that ere I die I have to make peace with the past.

    This SUCKS.

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      Andrew: Well, you remind us that there are different ways to travel back to where we’ve been. And yes, there is a matter of making peace with who we were and who we are. And if anyone can, you can. You do not walk the path alone, my friend.

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  2. How awful, Andrew. It makes perfect sense that you wouldn’t want to go back to a place like that. I pray that your past would be washed clean and your sleep would bring peace instead of terror-filled recollections.

    Beth, two of my favorite places are waterfalls and beaches. I love watching the sunrise on the ocean and hearing the steady swish-swash of the waves, sweeping the beach and leaving new pretties to find. But the power of water falling so hard and so loud it drums out any other and fills your thoughts with the wonder of it is pretty hard to beat, too.

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  3. Are you sure you want to ask this? You know my list is long and has increasingly changed my life for the good forever. In 1980 w/ my then 14-year-old son, Colombia, S. Am., for 3 1/2 months helping schools and mission stations along a pirana-filled jungle river near the border with Peru and Ecuador that later flows into the Amazon. There were Guerillas around and after. My heart was very joined and my prayer-life increased exponentially. Later through happy circumstances someone paid my way the first time to Israel so I could come back and teach Biblical Archaeology. I loved it so much and worked hard to pay my own way and have now been six times for 89 days over 34 years. Here’s hoping for trip seven. On the way back from first trip, I stopped to see friends in Europe. The Chris. college I taught in had students from many nations and a number lived in my home for up to a year. Of course we’re extended family, so these days if I can manage flights across the pond by air miles or cash, the door is open, as is mine. I got an email yesterday from Denmark saying one dear one’s family is still too young to come my way, but reminding me I’m welcome to come any time. My heart is full and my life is blessed and greatly expanded. Starting about 10 years ago I took one trip to the Philippines that has now led to six and supporting a pair of twin girls there, now age 14, and including connections in other area stops like Indonesia, Singapore, Macau, and of course throughout the Philippines. Emails both ways strengthen the connecting links. My friends are envious of my trips. I am thankful and grateful to be immeasurably blessed, and it’s not over. When I read your question, a line of poetry sprang to my mind, and I found it is from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Ulysses:
    I am a part of all that I have met;
    Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
    Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
    For ever and forever when I move.

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  4. Beth, for some reason, this post made me tear up. Thinking of places I’ve been, mountains I’ve hiked, places I’ve skied. Places where God met me and drew me closer to Him. Surprisingly, Las Vegas was one of those places in my life. I wouldn’t want to go back and live there, but He truly met me there while we did live there.

    And then there’s Colorado….the place I knew first. The place that will always hold my heart.

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      Jeanne:
      Isn’t it funny how unexpected places can become home?
      We were stationed in Turkey for two years when our first 3 kiddos were little. (Amy was all of 3 months old when we first landed there.) And yet, for a time, Turkey as home. And when I first realized that, I was so, so surprised.

  5. What an interesting question, Beth. I’ve lived my whole life in Florida, and compared to many, I haven’t ventured often from home, but there are three places I hold in my heart. Though I visited NYC in highschool, it wasn’t until we traveled to NY often when our son Nick spent 4 years at the USMMA on Long Island that I fell in love with the city and the people there. On our 1st trip for parents weekend Nick’s plebe year, we flew back home less than 48 hours before 9-11, and I suppose that had much to do with it. The other 2 places that captured my heart I’ve only been to once but I long to return–Banff in Canada and Israel.

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      Patricia:
      I’ve been away from the blog while we readied it for the unveiling, so I’m just reading your comment now. We all have vivid memories of 9-11, but flying home from NYC just 48 hours before that tragic event? That’s sobering.
      I’ve been to Israel, too, years ago now.But, oh, the memories are some of my most precious.

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