Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Preparing for the Final Ride

Tonight is the eve of our final ride together, and it seems incredibly surreal.

We have had a long, hard, joyful, trying and life-filled journey. In the moment, words cannot fully express all that I am thinking and feeling. Love and excitement are in the air as we spend an evening in Annapolis together, laughing, playing games, fellowshipping over pizza and as we check in with the “real world” via the internet. There is also a solemnity in the air as we are all beginning to realize what the exciting end of this journey (we made it!!!) might actually mean and look like (it is likely we won’t all be together again).

Today was a bit of a rat-race around DC, trying to coordinate between where the bikers were and how the support vehicle folks could get to them in order to enjoy the day together… DC is a pedestrian (and bike)-friendly city… but isn’t great for those of us trying to gather with them from the car. It was a bit of a run-around and frustrating, but it worked out in the end and we have safely arrived in Annapolis, Maryland. It was a reminder of at least one reason why I will be relieved when the journey continues, though.

More than not, I am confident that I will be increasingly sad and somber as the end draws near. I am surrounded by folks I would never have known or become friends with in my “normal” life. I have been challenged in ways I did not fully anticipate, in ways that I know have helped me to grow. I have been a part of a strong, supportive community that has introduced me to new people, places, ideas, activities, though processes and ways of life. Through the good and the bad, I have spent a significant amount of time trying to process all that we have experienced together, and as the summer draws near, I am increasingly aware of the new ways I have done this.

Community is a funny thing sometimes. In this case, it was a forced community that came together to support a common cause. We have remained so focused on this cause and on unity, that even in this “close” community I have realize I may have more “walls” here than I have in any other place in my life. Its interesting to think that we have spent nearly 7 weeks together, and I anticipate this group will see “a whole new side of Jen” when my sister arrives on Saturday… for it is when I am with her that all of my boundaries are collapsed, my life is laid out into a place of vulnerability, and I find one of the safest places I know. There are few people I find more safety in that in the (brief) presence of my sea-star.

Glad as I will be to be home, I am thankful for this journey. The weekend will be interesting… but awesome. I am actually really looking forward to tomorrow, when we will ride into the beach, arrive at the ocean (finally!!!), celebrate and camp on the beach, share in communion, perhaps sing a few songs and have a great time together. I hope the arrival and fellowship are as rich and powerful as we have dreamt them up to be.

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