A year ago today (I think) I was on a plane flying back from Lucerne, Switzerland. Here's what I wrote:
"My last few hours in Switzerland are quickly ticking away, and the pictures in my mind of snow-capped peaks and onion-topped church domes already seem surreal. The hum of our zug to Zurich Hauptbahnhof is lulling my eyes shut, but I know that the first sleep will only distance me further from all that has happened here, and I want to grab hold before it whisps away and falls into "perspective".
Perspective can be a dangerous thing--making us believe that what we experienced at the time was only emotion and not to be trusted. That the time spent here was isolated time -- and the lessons learned not meant to be applied to daily life.
But if I could carry images of Lucerne with me forever, continually learning their lessons, I would always see the colorful spread of David's raclette table and Agatha unzipping "Grossmutter's apfeltorte" from her blue duffel bag; Kai and Miles swinging down the hill on the cable playground equipment; Corrine naming "eyes", "nose", and "elbow" in English; Mathias laughing with his eyes closed and Reuben dubbing Jim "Big Father". I would see the 6 of us gathered around the dinner table, passing apfelsaft, emmentaler, and nutella, and hear the strains of "Fur spiesen trank" in my head. This is "gemeineschaft"..."fellowship". And the beauty of the Alps and Swiss villages, as much as I love them, can only pale in comparison."
Well, I was really tired and foggy-headed, but I think this is what I wanted to remember: how good it is when like-minded people are together -- traveling, eating, discussing deep thoughts, doing their laundry in the bathtub, chugging Swiss apple juice, laughing hysterically, etc., etc., etc. No competition, no backstabbing, no drama, just fellowship.
Fellowship is a hard thing for me. It's way too easy to lock the door of my apartment, pick up a good book, and wile the weekend away. And sometimes it's exhausting to be around people. Thinking up things to say, laughing at the right time, looking interested in what they're saying....it wears me out. In Lucerne...well...I had no choice. There was no privacy, no locking yourself away...hours and hours of togetherness. And I remember many times when I was teetering on the edge, inches away from losing it and throttling one of my companions. But I guess, judging from what I wrote in my journal, my last thoughts were good ones, thankful ones. Sehr, sehr gut gemeineschaft.