Fathom Mag
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Published on:
September 10, 2019
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2 min.
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Where I Am

Sometimes I think about returning to St. Andrews, Scotland, where castles crumble into the sea. About finding my way back to St. Mary’s college, where I used to drink tea and talk theology with my classmates, then stroll through the courtyard where roses bloom beside ancient trees. I picture us renting a small cottage while we both pursue PhDs. Evan would wake up early and put the coffee on, and I would wrap a scarf around my neck and walk out to the beach where I could breathe a morning prayer just by closing my eyes. Just by feeling the ocean mist against my face.

We could waste an entire life wishing for somewhere else.
Rachel Joy Welcher

I think about taking a morning walk through the town to say hello to the neighborhood cats, and smell the freshly baked bread. Evan would be beside me. We go everywhere together, even in my dreams. But if I have learned one thing from Evan, it’s that staying put has value. Growing roots and letting them get tangled in the soil of a place with the rocks, bugs, and nutrients. All of it. We all have places that we dream about with a silky lense. On tough days we go there in our heads and think, “If only…”

But the truth is, the only place I belong is right here. Where I am. And you, right where you are, at least for today. We could waste an entire life wishing for somewhere else. And some do. But the while the grocer in my dream scenario might have a Scottish accent, the barista in my current town of Glenwood, Iowa tells me about her son and how he likes to paint. And I give my yoga teacher a tour of the old Baptist church where I work. Together we admire the stained glass and talk about poetry. 

My home might not made of cobblestone, but there is a stone path beside the garden, and this week, a friend came over and we talked outside in my yard for nearly three hours while her son played at our feet. I am not pursuing a PhD right now - maybe someday - but I am writing a book that will matter a great deal to some, and that matters to me. Instead of a view of the sea, I write to the accompaniment of “thunderstorm and rain” sounds on YouTube and a napping dog. I am learning the people here - in my town, my church, and my neighborhood. They are precious, and I want to know them for a long, long time. So I let my roots down, little by little, until they begin to create space in the soil, to spread. And to grow. 

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Rachel Joy Welcher
Rachel Joy Welcher is an editor-at-large at Fathom Magazine. She earned a Master’s degree in theology from the The University of St. Andrews, taught high school English for ten years, is a published poet (Blue Tarp, Finishing Line Press), and writes for magazines such as Cordella, RELEVANT, and The Gospel Coalition. She lives with her husband Evan, who is a pastor in Glenwood, Iowa.

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