Recently, a follower/friend of CollectiveMKE completed, in its entirety, a “thru-hike” of the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. It is a span of over 2,600 miles and very few people actually successfully hike the distance in a single season.
It is a journey to say the least.
I lived vicariously through Joel on his time in the wilderness. Some of his pictures and videos were jaw droppingly beautiful. He was living my dream one footstep at a time.
And throughout his trip he encountered many moments of uncertainty and doubt. Would he be able to carry the whole journey out? Should he call it quits and still have a remarkable story? Thanks in part to his cause (he was raising money for Cystic Fibrosis research) and the encouragement of his followers, he finished the entire length - a feat of incredible endurance and stamina.
Watching his updates come across social media reminded me of one of CollectiveMKE’s metaphors, that we are all on a Journey. It is glaringly apparent to me every week that we gather that we are all on separate journeys in our search for God, truth and righteousness. Some of us are strong in our faith - stalwarts who are there for those who need it - and some are questioning where God is in all of what is going on in the world.
But therein lies the beauty of our church. We try and answer questions for one another, when relevant, or just listen, when that seems to be the better answer. We have young parents who listen to us older parents say “It gets easier,” as they work through the hardships of new parenthood. (And they are hardships in every sense of the word. At least from what I remember of it. LOL!)
And, like Joel, we weather the elements of need in the world together. When we see a need like BLOOM, or Guest House, or CTGA, or Graduating Seniors allowed the privilege of walking for their diploma, we help make those things happen. Together we huddle and make the world a warmer place for others.
The moments of brilliance and majestic vistas Joel saw on his journey are captured by our group when a casual conversation around a kitchen island turns personal, intimate and healing for everyone present. They are there when I see the sparkling eyes and cackling laugh of one of the little ones during a Home Group Planning meeting. They are there during Kayak trips where we collectively watch great herons from our boats and share a God’s-creation moment. They are there during “aha!” moments of sharing at Jesus and Beer. And they are there when we gather in small groups in outside-church social situations to get to know one another better.
Perhaps the biggest difference between our individual faith journeys and Joel’s PCT hike is that ours has no end. If you think you’ve got all the spiritual answers, then you’re probably on the wrong trail. Every week I learn something about God, myself, my faith and my world.
I for one am grateful that I am surrounded by such a supportive, cool, insightful bunch of adventurers.
They make the journey easier.