Monday, August 20, 2007
I’m not sure how to begin, or how to end for that matter. I feel like I am saying goodbye to an old friend. How to move on from this summer, it really is like saying goodbye to a wise old friend, one who has been there for me, whispering wisdom in my ear for the last few months. But I will start with this: I am convinced that everything I have seen and everywhere I have been and everyone I have met has in some way been a reflection of God. And if God is in these things than God must be good. It’s quite beautiful when I think about it really. I have thought long and hard and there really is no other way of understanding or quantifying the travel, people, and places that have been this summer, and the overwhelming goodness of people that I have borne witness to.
A quick, or not so quick, recap. (There really is something therapeutic about this for me).
In Boston I met all kinds of people from all over the world, all of them in some way just like me. And I was blessed to be able to talk with them and discover what their lives were like and how different yet similar we were. I was able to see quickly the depth of my ethnocentricity, and quickly it was impressed upon me that this summer was not about me, it wasn’t about my story as much as it was about a story being told to me. I learned a lot about economic theory and practice, and about libertarianism and government theory and how far from perfect the world is. I learned that fun is not something that only Americans understand, I rode around the entire city on a bike in a toga, I laughed a lot, I thought a lot, then I thought some more. I also saw first hand how smart some people are, and I realize that I may never achieve the intellectual prowess of some of these people but I am really glad that these people exist, that a lot of people know a lot more than me. I made three really great friends in Boston, one of whom was kind enough to let us stay in her apartment near Harvard for a few days while we saw and did everything there was to do in Boston. (My friend, though she may refute this, is one of the smartest people I know, she is one of those people who is so smart and has such a love of people that it blows my mind.) And there was one night that we sat on the steps of this church that is on Harvard’s campus, and we talked late into the night about all kinds of things as the stars above sang and danced, and it was all so perfect and lovely and it was easy to get the feeling that maybe this was what life was ultimately about. Experiencing people, experiencing life, experiencing God.
As I continued my journey to New York City I began to embrace the kind of freedom that comes with solo travel, that is, going and doing whatever you want whenever you want. I have to tell you, for someone whose life ordinarily revolves around a schedule, it was heaven. There I stayed with one of the kindest most generous families I know, and had a lot of great conversations with my cousin and my friend Patrick the freelance photographer. Patrick moved to NY a couple of years ago and literally lives paycheck to paycheck, hoping and praying that he will be provided with enough work to pay the rent in his apartment. But I have to tell you, he is one of the happiest, most fulfilled guys I know. Just talking with him was encouraging. He loves what he does, and, though things are sometimes hard, he wouldn’t trade his job for anything. For him there is something in the uncertainty, in the good times and the hard times, that he has grown comfortable with, almost in love with. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Moving on was hard by this time, as I had grown to resent all the goodbye’s I was constantly forced to give. But I did leave, hard as it was, and moved on to meet my family at our 110 year old cabin in upstate NY. I have to tell you, I can’t think of any place more serene, quiet, and perfect. The cabin is on a three-mile lake in the mountains, and the word beautiful doesn’t do it justice, not by a long shot. I came here as a kid almost every summer, and the place is filled with memories and beauty as far as the eye can see. It was the perfect place to hang for a few days and collect my thoughts, reflect on what the last few weeks had held. Each morning I would paddle out in our wooden canoe and chase the loons and fog across the silent water, hearing nothing but the sound of my paddle breaking the water’s surface. This place held a kind of peace that most only read about in books.
As this may be a bit longer, I will postpone the rest of this reflection until another date, but, in the meantime, here are some of my favorite pictures: