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From the window cubicle facing the Thai restaurant. Snow flurries interspersing the air and trying to stick. The cold today is fierce. This is the first winter I can remember where the cold is hurting my face worse than my hands, but the face recovers faster than the hands so I have no complaints.

My passport came back the other day. This is the passport book that reflects my name change, that being the addition of Rhys to my full name. Now it’s official. The name I picked for myself when I moved to Portland eight years ago is now legal and legit. I can now receive checks.

And with the new passport, I can travel! Which is the part that burns. I went through the whole rush of getting my passport changed and ready in time for the adventure I was planning in Ecuador.

Ecuador, on the equator, warm, sunny. Not America. Somewhere I could go to escape the cold and practice my Spanish and connect with friends and do work with a youth group about addictions and identify.

The trip didn’t work out. Not right now anyway. Logistics, logistics, logistics. And not even money logistics!

My passport returned to me a day or two after I’d decided for sure not to go. The little blue book is still sitting on my coffee table. I’m not really sure what to do with it, just like I’m not really sure what to do with hopes and dreams.

I know I feel sad and disappointed and a whole lot more vulnerable to the cold now that I won’t be able to get to the heat.

And I’m a little angry in the way I get angry when I get disappointed. I know my choice to stay home was a good one and wise and considerate of the needs of my family. But I still feel like I let myself get talked out of something good. Again. Some of the things I regret the most in life are the things I let myself get talked out of.

I made some new friends into brothers at church through the process. Talking with Stephen and Adrian. Talking with Mateo who was already a brother. The phenomenon of being open and vulnerable and finding people safe and accepting and eager to be loving and helpful. In the end they respect me for my decision and we have set a precedent for our relationships. My conversations with them need never be superficial again. I have exposed my confusion to them, and now they can expose their confusions to me.

And that’s good. That’s what I want in my community here and now. But I’m still an adventurer. I’m living a life I didn’t plan on in a city I didn’t plan on settling in. The climate is cold and I love the heat. My work is caring for people which I love, but I need a break.

I was so excited about having a break.

But there’s excitement there too. As it stands now, my boss is willing to give me time off and I still have money saved up. I could pick any one of my friends across the country and go visit for a long weekend.

While I’ve been writing the snow has come and gone. I’ll have a dry ride home.

This seems to be the pattern. I get distressed, I get panicked, I get disappointed and angry…and then things get better. Or I don’t die. Or I find I can handle more than I thought I could. Maybe there is still peace to be found if I will but wait…