Friday, August 26, 2016


People ask me about my summer.

There’s no easy way to communicate what goes through my mind when I think about the last few months. In moments, a vivid, disjointed slideshow of memories plays out in my head. I see rapids, cliffs, and familiar smiles. My heart struggles to prioritize stories. After all, what was really the most important? The fact that I finally learned the munter mule knot for rappelling or the story of the evening my roomie and I drove to the top of the mountain and we felt like we were on top of the world? Should I describe what I know of reading water for rafting, or would people be more interested in hearing about the nights when my friends and I marveled as the sky was lit by a brilliant moon, lightening, and shooting stars?

Fears surface as I try to explain.

I fear the fact that no one can ever really understand what this summer was like unless he or she was there. I want to share these days with the family and friends I love. But since I can’t sync memories and emotions with others (which, if it could be controlled, would be SUPER COOL), I have to realize that words and pictures will have to suffice to give them the faintest sense of what my life was like. Which saddens me, because I feel as if there is a part of myself that I want to show them, but I don’t have the right tools. I feel thwarted, blocked at the pass, and very lonely for the people who lived this incredible season with me.

The fact that there is no thread that ties the memories together—no plot, no way to explain how everything fits and what everything was driving towards—makes me uneasy as to the purpose of all that I did.

It seems as if I should be able to look at the ministry aspect of my job and say, “Well, it was all for a purpose, because I shared awesome devos and I was able to encourage people….” and all the other things we maybe hope for when we step into a new area of service.

I wish I could summarize the adventure side of my job by saying, “I conquered all my fears! And I was good at everything! I got way better at interacting with people, and talking to strangers is no longer awkward!”

Well. It appears perhaps my hopes were a little too high. J

I’m coming to peace with the fact that the story is in pieces—just like a novel, the facets of our lives don’t always make sense until the true end of the story. Sometimes not even then. The song Farther Along by Josh Garrels has helped me with that.

Well, this post is getting long. Time to wrap up.

For sake of making sense of everything, I’ll risk attempting a brief summary of my memories here.

My job was FANTASTIC. I had a lot of fears going into the summer. Heights weren’t my favorite thing. I don’t love the dark or tight spaces. But I knew I wanted to grow, and I did. I’ve rappelled, caved, facilitated high ropes, trained quite a bit on the New River, and more. The fears aren’t gone, but I’m learning to live beyond them. Besides the adventure skills I gained, I had the chance to share a couple devotions with guests, and while I still have work to do in that area, I’m thankful that God has given me this opportunity to serve Him. It brings me joy to remember the moments when God’s hand at work was so clear in my life or another guide’s.

What surprises me is that many of my most vivid memories aren’t from the job. My heart longs to go back to hikes with guides, to relaxing in my hammock, going out for coffee, and laughing at the craziest things because I and the people I worked with just enjoyed being together.

And I choose to comfort my longings with the fact that no matter where I am or who is with me, there is One with me Who was there all summer long. God knows each of my memories better than I do. He knows exactly how I felt each day—that crazy blend of fear and courage, strength and weakness, incredible happiness and occasional woundedness. I don’t have to try to explain to Him and have it fall short.

So that’s it. That’s the only way I can explain right now.

It was amazing.

Waiting at a Rappel Site

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