A Smoke in the Den

Now doesn't that sound warm and inviting? A smoke in the den. Come. Join me. If you don't like the smell of smoke it's ok, I actually won't be smoking--and we're probably on different continents anyway. It's more a figure of speech really. When I was a kid my neighbor's dad had a den. It was more like a study actually. The room was warm and cozy, and he smoked a pipe, giving the room a delightful, sophisticated scent. A den like that is meant for sitting, having long chats about things that matter in life, and maybe for lighting one up. If you have your own cigar or pipe, maybe now you might enjoy having a little time with me over one--and over an ocean. If nothing else, we'll talk about life over a couple of beers.

Sitting down in our brown leather chairs, we make ourselves comfortable. We're in no hurry to start the conversation, but know that it will come in due time. Perhaps we sit a moment in silence, just enjoying one another's company. I get lost staring at the bookshelf when you bring me back to attention, "So how are things Luke?" I grin a little, knowing that this is so much more than the typical 'how you doing?' at the start of most converstations. I settle in my chair, cross my legs, and take a sip of some dark, german beer (not swiss, swiss beer is horrible).

"We don't talk about that enough, do we?" I begin. "Because even when we do it's through so many filters and restrictions. Half the time I don't even really know how I'm actually doing, beyond just how I feel at that moment."

You smile, setting down your pint. "You're trying to dodge the question. Youself. Just now."

"Well...perhaps I am," I say, though I'm not smiling. Instead I've covered my mouth with my hand, and I'm looking down. "But if we weren't in this den it wouldn't matter. That's how things are. We accept what other people tell us about themselves. Why shouldn't we?"

"Sometimes," you say. You're looking right at me, not shifting your eyes like I am. "But is that all you want to say to me?"

"Of course not. That's just the problem."

I write this, wanting to leave it to speak for itself. But I'm afraid it might fail to do that. Maybe some of you have been reading my blog, or perhaps even emailing with me occationally. You can see that I'm having a great time here, getting to travel and expereince so much. But I wanted to let you all know that I am missing you, my friends and family. I really value experiences, and to have some experiences you have to give up some things. In this case I'm giving up being around all of you for some time. It is worth it, though I value you so much. What I wanted this whole post to convey is that as much as I value these cool experiences, I value you all more. I get to have this here now because it's a short experience. I can enjoy these experiences, but most of the time I can't help but wish that so and so was with me here at this place, because they would just love it. I think that is a big way that I love people, is by sharing things with them.

So to me obviously it is important to share with you my experiences through this blog and through email with some of you. I'm glad I can do that. But I wish we could have that talk in the den. You get to see my pictures and hear me talk about the travels, but there is so much lost and left out in the exchange. I feel like I get to paint you all a picture of this, but I only have a couple different colors of paint. I wish you could experience this with me. But I guess that is part of growing up, you have to leave people behind and such as they do the same. Still I've appreciated your engagement and involvement in my life while I've been here. And I thank you all so much for your emails and comments--they mean the world to me. So hopefully what I wrote just then makes a little more sense now. I think by writing that, hopefully it can overcome the sappy sentimentality of these explanatory paragraphs. I miss you all. Keep in touch (in the true sense of that phrase).


  1. I don't smoke in the den, but once you return, I'll buy your coffee in Lincoln or even make you a homemade latte in Ceresco. I look forward to hearing stories when you return...

  2. Luke my friend, I know where you are coming from. And once you return to us, we shall replace long distance smoking in the den to porch sitting, but until then, know that I am excited for your adventures, and love to hear from you. Have a pint of real beer for me this weekend, and I will have an American brew for you.

  3. i do enjoy your heart luke. i am glad to know you, for real.

    looking forward to praying with you when you return, i miss having you at the helm of all that.

  4. I felt as though I was being drawn into a very good book as I began to read this post. :) I thought you might like to know that, but I also know what you mean. I was so lonely last year being away from everyone, and I still feel it a bit now as things have changed and I have to readjust. I missed everyone desperately. And I missed people knowing me well enough to ask how I was really doing.
    I am currently wide awake and cannot sleep, which you will note by all the comments I left on your photos on facebook. :) I hope they're fun and not just a pain to get to and read. :) Have a good day, and I hope you are well. And if you are not, then I hope you have someone to share it with. <><

  5. Man, that was potent. My eyes got a little misty...because of the smoke of course. Alergies or something, you know.
    I really do look forward to a chat in the den...I am so terrible at this typing stuff...besides, there is something about the spontaneity of a conversation...face to face...with the pressure to form a sentence...in the brief moments of silence...that allows a person to open up...perhaps more than they expected. Writng can be so calculated. But don't get me wrong, I value whatever bridges the gap for now. I only say all these things to give a hearty amen.