KJ | ET Student
Kenna and I hop off the coach bus that brought us to the city center of Palma de Majorca, Spain, and squint at the shoreline. “I think there’s a beach over there,” she says. We walk along the sidewalk between the Mediterranean Sea and a row of palm trees. My flip flops are too big for my feet, but the sun warms my face, and I find myself smiling, almost giddy, at the thought of swimming.
We claim our spot on the beach and stretch out on our towels. I read The Fellowship of the Ring, which I bought in Oxford in honor of the Inklings. I discover more of Gollum’s backstory, and the hobbits embark on their journey to destroy the Ring, though they don’t quite know it yet. Frodo, Sam, and Pippin hum a song that Bilbo wrote about his previous journey:
Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
Then world behind and home ahead,
We’ll wander back to home and bed.
I’m struck by the parallels in my own journey, especially regarding England Term and knowing that we have about one month left. The song isn’t just about the journey, but returning as well. These hobbits would also have to travel through shadows, experience darkness, until all the stars sparkled in the sky—the pendulum’s full swing of feeling. Only then would they return home, weary and well-traveled. As hobbits, they love the comfortable, specifically, food and sleep. Yet, they are just beginning the adventure that would forever change them.
I set the book aside, pull off my swim cover, and run to the water. The waves crash into my ankles. Cold but refreshing, the water gradually welcomes me. I don’t know the water I’m in, or the half-naked people swimming parallel to me. I’m worried that water might sneak in my ears and plug them, so I’m stiff, until I study the blue sky and beach around me. I am in Spain. I have spent the last semester growing, the last week being comfortable—eating and sleeping—and the last year experiencing both the lowest of lows and the highest of highs. I’m a little afraid, a little cold, and very aware of the magnificence of the Creator and his love for his children.
I trust that God will settle me home.