Not that I’ve been able to use such environs very frequently, but recently I’ve had the privilege of soaring the skies of the West, South and Midwest United States. Gonna guess around 5000 miles of traveling by air and by land over the last 8 days.
- Arrived at the airport hours before a dear friend’s wedding in a small town just north of Nashville, Tennessee.
- Drove thirteen hours from Nashville to Rochester, Minnesota with a best friend and his parents.
- Somehow survived three full days on maybe nine cumulative hours of sleep.
- Spent many lunches and evenings catching up on hometown happenings and family developments with parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
- Enjoyed late breakfasts on the deck and frisbee tossing in the backyard thriving with copious green growth.
- Ventured downtown for a summer festival with live local music by friends in a screamo band.
- Hours of conversation around homelessness, podcasts, theology, the gay community, authors and war at a favorite pub.
- Revisited friends and acquaintances of times gone by, gathered around campfires and picnic tables.
- Raced 40 mph go-karts with 15 other men who reclaimed their boyhood exuberance during the bachelor party.
- Rode with close friends down to an Iowa farm town to rehearse and celebrate a valued couple’s wedding amidst ravaging humidity and sweltering heat that only sweetens the memory afterward.
- Humbled by the privilege to share a song and memory as two dear friends became one and committed to journey together with Jesus ‘til death.
- Captured over 500 photographs and videos in commemoration of the adventures ensued.
- Embraced a whole weekend of poor cell phone reception and lack of Internet access (why yes, that was Iowa).
- And yes, was somehow able to finagle a visit to Chick-fil-a before the whole week was over.
What a fantastic reminder of the deep friendships and valuable people in my life, though removed geographically. Much to be thankful for, many individuals who challenge me in different ways, people who make me smile for small reasons, those who welcome my sarcasm and inspire new habits and cause me to question my actions, beliefs and priorities just enough. Newly married couples that incite respect for their humble confidence and compassionate, welcoming spirits.
So with luggage bursting with dirty t-shirts and formal attire, my summer vacation comes to a close. On to the adventure of the daily grind in the Pacific Northwest, where a new wave of valued people and environments have been brewing…