On leaving Tulsa, and moving to Nashville

3 years ago, I came to Tulsa in a U-haul truck—into the middle of widescreen America, thick in the in-between of my own life. The infinite, open-ended sky gave me room to breathe, when I could no longer find air back home. I felt the cool breeze of the Spirit, somewhere in the Oklahoma wind. I found love, safety, shelter, & felt the first flickers and spasms of new life on the long side of dying. It was not without its own complexities, but in short…whether or not I found “shore” exactly, I know I found grace there, over & over.

Friday night, I left Tulsa in a U-haul truck, just like I came. I got Stella as a puppy just after I got here, so it felt right for us to take some time together to say quiet, tearful goodbyes to the places where we experienced such great love & laughter. I took this just before we drove off, after our pilgrimage revisiting these holy sites, wanting to not forget the ache of that moment. There’s no space in you for ache if you haven’t experienced something profound; to experience loss is only evidence you’ve experienced real beauty. I have only gratitude for my time here. .

It was sad to leave, but my heart was full. I have made many wonderful friends in these years, and my heart will be forever marked by them. Having been on the road constantly these last few months, and having to make some of these decisions in real-time, I hate I didn’t have the opportunity to say all the goodbyes in person that I would have liked to. But I will forever carry my Oklahoma friends close...& I’ll be back! I hope you all know how loved you are.

Yet with nothing but gratitude for all I’ve seen, known and loved here these last few years, it does feel like it is time for my next  adventure. There was a long season in which there was room to unlearn and unravel, to become something new. There was a lot of hard growing up. What do you do now, with this new person you’ve become?

For the last few months, I’ve been praying diligently about what’s next: specifically about New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Nashville, all places I love for different reasons. They each feel like they have and will continue to have great significance in the little story I am living, and how all of that works out is by no means entirely resolved.

But coming to the end of this long, difficult deliberation, it continues to feel like Music City is calling my name. I’m from the South. Johnny Cash is my patron saint. Nashville, at its best, erases the line between sacred and secular. Do you want to sing a little gospel, or raise a little hell? Nashville is a place for people who answer yes to both of these questions. I am one of those people.

Ultimately though, it is community that makes me feel summoned there—dear people I want to create and collaborate with. I’ll continue to do much of what I’m doing (writing and speaking), but the rest I sense, I will largely figure out when I get there, in the context of this community of friends. Sometimes all you hear is “go,” and the only thing you know is that you can’t stay where you’ve been. That’s how I feel about this transition: that anything I don’t know about the nature of this new journey, there will be time to dream up once I get there.

So yesterday I unloaded my things at a storage unit in Nashville yesterday, before heading to Charlotte to spend a little bit of time with my family. I still have to figure out exactly where I’m living, and flesh out some logistics…but I do plan to land there, very soon. In the meantime, I would certainly appreciate your prayers. I’ve got fire in my bones and poetry in my blood; I’ve got new sounds to make. I feel hungry, humble, and open. It’s the wild wild west out there right now, & I’m ready to go make something wild, and beautiful.

What better place could there be really, for the son of a preacher man?