Last year, on the summer solstice, my parents flew home from Istanbul. On the day of the year with the most light. It had been a good trip for them. They were officially scouting out the itinerary and logistics for a study abroad program for the college my dad works for. He’d be leading students around Turkey for three weeks. But unofficially, their trip was a nice vacation. It was their first time back to Turkey, and first time in a long time, of traveling without the worries of looking after others. So many of their trips abroad for the past twenty years had been stressful adventures trying to look after myself and my siblings. Not this time, though. They could enjoy themselves! And then, on the lightest day of the year, they flew home after a journey of rediscovering lightness.
On the winter solstice, on the darkest day of the year, I flew home from Prague. I had also been on a trip of discovering lightness. I had been wandering around Eastern Europe and the Balkans for the past three months. I generally have a difficult time trying to live lightly; existence is heavy for me. But life for the past three months, for the most part, had been an extremely light time. I guess the last month had been full of worries, as I neared closer to the end of my trip, as things got darker and darker; as I edged closer and closer to the solstice. And then at the darkest moment, I flew home.
I thought about that for a while. Was I flying home towards the dark? From a period of lightness into one of darkness? Or was I flying out of the darkness and into the light? Was I in a dark moment, and things would only become lighter? I was unsure. But I was struck by the coincidence that my parents flew on the lightest day of the year, while my fate was to fly on the darkest day of the year. And what a flight it was. A whopping 41 hours from Prague to Grand Rapids.
On the recently past summer solstice (actually a day or two after, but close enough for me to keep the thread going) I flew from Tbilisi to Istanbul. It was the start of roughly one month on the road. About a week in Istanbul, followed by some traveling around, and winding up in Kosovo before heading back to Istanbul to connect with my flight home.
Again, the question pops into my head. (And it’s a dumb question, akin to overthinking one’s horoscope or something) What does this mean? What do the gods have in store for me that I keep having these journeys on the lightest or darkest days of the year? What’s the the hidden pattern within these cycles of darkness and light?
I was finishing my time in Georgia. Between solstices I had spent two months at home followed by four months in Georgia. And then on the solstice, on the lightest day of the year, I was putting it behind me and setting off on a new chapter.
And what is that next chapter, exactly? On my winter solstice flight, I couldn’t have answered that question. This time around, though, I can. Roughly a month on the road, followed by about a month and a half at home desperately trying to restock my entirely depleted funds, and then I’ll be taking off for Istanbul again, where I will live for about a year teaching English in a language school.
What the pattern is, I can’t say. Am I heading from darkness into the light (walking up a moonlit path, with Yeshua at my side?), or am I plunging towards darkness? Maybe I’ll be denied light, and granted peace instead. (All these thoughts of darkness and light have me thinking about Master and Margarita.) I can’t say. Perhaps, around the time of the winter solstice, I’ll have a bit better perspective.