Journey’s seem to be all around me. Earlier this week my sweet friend’s journey, here on Earth came to an end. Came to an end all too young (42) and there seems to be a vacuum effect with the spot she has left. While mine and her interactions were sporadic and random, a text message here and there, facebook kept the pace of happenings and interactions and I loved her dearly. I cannot imagine what those that were much closer to her are feeling this week. My heart is broken.
I was sorting the mail this afternoon and in it was an envelope, handwritten, with the return address of one of the former youth in our church. It is actually the second one we have received this week, from a second former youth member (as well as friends of one or more of our children).
I pulled the other envelope from the stack and opened both. Both made me remember a third “former youth” and a road in front of him.
A journey ahead for all.
The first letter was raising funds for competition, under what is formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ. The competition is in Belgium, where there will be mission type opportunities too. He says in the letter, that in addition to competing in pole vaulting, there is a goal of deepening his relationship with God and sharing his faith. A big change from the campus of UGA.
The second letter was raising funds too. This one is closer to home, but quite a journey in a huge way. In fact, this letter is what made me remember the young man that heads out tomorrow on his journey. Basically the same as the young man sending out fundraising letters: hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Six months from Springer Mountain Georgia to Mount Katahdin Maine. Two young men, on similar journeys, starting a month apart, taking time to test their endurance, search their souls, digging deep in self discovery, perseverance with a goal of achievement and finding a direction for when they return home.
The Dillon (letter gentleman) has traveled some. Lived in a couple cities – worked at an ice cream shop to cover rent and surfed in his free time, living life to the fullest in an easy going simple way. The friend that traveled this path with him, discovered he was ready to go back to school and finish his Batchelor’s degree. I will be excited to see what discoveries Dillon comes home with and what direction he goes next.
Our young friend Josh begins his tomorrow, with a college friend, and countless strangers. Josh is a post graduate trying to figure out his niche in this great big world. Transitioning can be overwhelming. I have been excited for him as this date as inched closer. I have enjoyed hearing how his preparations have progressed as he readies for this journey. For Josh, this has been a goal since he entered Boy Scouts.
And then I thought of our Traveler. Four years ago she was preparing for college graduation with big plans for living in the Netherlands. Graduation came, plans crashed and she struggled to regroup in her post graduate setting. She moved to a big city and has traveled extensively. Over the past year, her dad has had several phone calls asking for his thoughts on her ideas about finding a career – most the time about going back to college.
I noticed a bit ago, she had posted last night about figuring out what she wants to be when she grows up. I have to smile, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
As I type this about the journey's of five others, I do know this: the journey, no matter how well thought out and planned for, will take on a life of its own. It is best to embrace each moment and fill it with as much joy and love as possible and grasp the teachings that come with it. All the other details will work out, even if bumpy and even if in the end there are tears. Candy showed all of us, that were looking, how to do that. As she battled cancer, which is never what anyone wants on their journey, she lived. She lived with a level of faith, contentment and joy that was apparent in her smile and the peace of her journey.