Steller’s Jays are all about, flying artfully through the branches, voicing their presence with a surprising array of calls. The sun, now far along its wintery path, no longer stares into my window. It peeks, with tiny stabs of light breaking past the thick branches, and the rest getting stuck on the roof and rafters of this house. Just now it reveals its waning presence, which will soon be gone today, and gone for months in about a week. My room is a small, lesser Alaska, where the sun disappears from direct view all through winter, though fortunately, walking to the other, south facing side of the house I can move to the likeness of the opposite pole.

People wonder about me. They wonder why I didn’t stay in Pasadena, taking whatever jobs I could find in order to find some measure of independent establishment. I wonder too. I wonder about a lot of things. Had I a single reason beyond the faint whispers of possibilities I might have. There was nothing to hook me, nothing grabbed onto me and said I was welcomed or vital to any particular person. So I drifted along in some vague miasma of hope.

Then I started writing, and that eternal tug which has been everpresent pulled strong. That’s the core of everything I am and do. That tug. I wandered to a ludicrous college career, outside of any kind of rational ability or consideration concerning the reasons, because of that tug. I fell into the trap of reading complex church history, not only reading the church fathers but finding ecstasy in them because of that tug. I came home and worked as a person should, but then quit to do more independent reading because of that tug. I started a real life, and was pulled back extraordinarily strong by that tug.

I went to seminary even though the thought of being the smiling faced pastor in a sales pitch ecclesiology wasn’t within me. I battled and angered people who took advantage of their positions for foolishness because of that tug, even though this meant thrashing potential. And still the tug. I wonder about a lot of things, whether to go to the right or left, in or out, but always that tug pulls at my very being, constricting me as much as steel bars within a set path. I consider other movements and think how sharper it would all be, but then that tug reminds me of its inexorable power. It is a weight which is never lifted, and the more I pull from it the more I am snapped back.

So I walk a path different than that expected of me, wishing I didn’t have to, wishing I could settle down. But I wander the eternal fields, taking a spiritual trek reminiscent of the physical journey my forebears took coming west. There is no more West, the establishment merchants of the East have conquered what remains, leaving those of us who have the same yearnings that has marked a great many throughout history without recourse to response. Yet the response remains as God calls to journey heavenward, a relentless pull which is the exact same drive of men and women who forsook hearth and debt to take on something grander.

Heaven is my West, the goal unsettled as the journey continues, my only sadness coming from the loneliness of such a drive. But the tug, that obdurate, unyielding draw which checks my very soul at the thought of differing paths keeps me going towards a place I cannot see and do not know. That tug, with a tremendous grip, never relents, never eases despite myself.

And so today, I’m feeling the weight of discontent, seeing nothing forward, knowing nothing was left behind, yet pining for those wane hopes which were the full measure of the past. I’m lost in the great desert, seeking solace and relief, staring at the bleached bones of those who did not make it.