A journey can take you many places, some are expected and others not so much. Along the way you discover things about yourself. Some of the things you discover are new and exciting, some you have forgotten. You meet people that make the journey more interesting. You find things that add color to your life.
On a trip to France I was quickly introduced to the language as our group's bus driver, that we had hired to drive us from Paris to the monastic community of Taize, only spoke French. I had been studying the French language for only eight months and was eager to put it to use. Yet, I still surprised myself that I was able to coordinate our transport with ease. As the city slowly passed behind us I relaxed into the soft comfortable bus seat knowing that our journey had just begun and confident that I was ready for anything.
Fourteen days later, muscles still aching from exploring centuries old streets and climbing ancient stairs, I returned home. I was filled with the peace of the quiet time spent in worshiping three times a day, sitting in the candlelight with hundreds of others from many different countries singing songs that quickly flowed freely from our mouths. I had memories of friendships made during lessons taught as a leader of youth in our daily bible lessons. My trip to Taize gave me a better understanding of my life's purpose.
On a trip to the Isle of Iona in Scotland it took us over 24 hours of traveling via almost every mode of transportation to get there. What a sight our group of 15 must have been walking through this small coastal town dragging our belongings behind us. From the moment I breathed in the air that smelled like fresh cut hay on a hot summer's day, saw the abbey looming in the distance and walked past the crumbling walls of an ancient nunnery, I could feel the history of the people that had journeyed here before me. I returned from this journey filled with the knowledge of stories about centuries old people and a desire to learn more about my families ancestry. I carried home memories of dancing the celidah in the town hall, walking in a cave that plays music from the natural flow of wind through its canyons, visiting many castles, and eating this sweet and crumbly Scottish caramel topped shortbread that is served in all the cafes. The people here are deeply rooted to the land and I wanted to feel that same sense of pride in knowing where you come from.
I have had many other journeys and I'm always planning the next one. I look forward to making new memories, excited about creating more experiences and insightful self discovery. I know that at the end of the journey you bring back so much more than you started with.