Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Conflicts I Now Face

After walking away from my Appalachian Trail life almost two weeks ago, my thoughts and feelings about the past journey, the present moments, and the future decisions seem to conflict and even contradict each other at times.

Past: The excitement of entering into Maine and knowing we had finally crossed the last state line. The rush to Katahdin, as if it wouldn't be there if we didn't arrive by a certain date. The need to be done with this journey. Done walking. Done eating Lipton's Rice Sides every night. Done choking down instant oatmeal every morning. Done pulling on the same dirty clothes each day of the week. Done reading the signs of the sky in an attempt to forecast the daily weather. Done digging holes to go to the bathroom. Done walking. It was almost an urgent feeling to get to the finish. Maine was beautiful in every way. But I fear we may have missed important parts of it in our blurred vision as we focused only on the prize at the end - Mt. Katahdin. I thought I was ready to be done. Was I?

Present: Feelings of nostalgia mixed with a bit of sadness as I look through the 700 pictures that Megan and I took of our 6 month journey. I can only relive moments now as I look from picture to picture, trying to recall the expressions of our trail friends, the emotions of the day, the highlights of the adventure. Questions - Why did we rush to the end? What will become of our dear friends that we met enroute to our common ground, Katahdin? Have I learned enough to change the parts of my life that need changing? Am I strong enough to resist the opressiveness of the cultural norms and societal influences? Who am I, now? Can I fit back in to this fast paced, selfish world? Do I want to? The questions keep coming. The answers are not aparent. I wonder, will they ever appear?

Future: Apprehension mixed with a slight bit of urgency. Apprehension - because I know not the road I will follow. It is not as clearly marked as the trail I have recently left behind. The doorways and avenues that are before me present conflicting options. Urgency - because a plan for my future is what the people around me expect. The world expects it. Society nearly demands it. Sadness now. My mind is filling with this junk, this clutter that took me months to effectively push back and eventually discard. And I am left searching for answers that I may never find again.

Can these two worlds coexist. The conflict between the simple and the good vs. the complexities and distractions of life in our "convenient" world. It is a puzzle I will be striving to solve. Meanwhile I attempt to make each day count, instead of counting the days.

7 comments:

Jaime said...

Hey girl,

Just keep your eye on the one that healed your achilles tendon in the midst of walking up and down mountains. For God doesn't give us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind. And He is not the author of confusion. I know it seems to be a mental battle, the two worlds so different and liked at the same time. But keep your head up to where your help cometh and you will be just fine.

Anonymous said...

I have followed your story with feelings of envy but also shared in your happiness and and was proud of you...that maybe you will be one of the few to figure out just how to really live a life full of meaning and purpose and joy. To live your life fully alert and awake rather than half-asleep. The world can wait on you!

bekadean said...

John 14:1 says, "Don't let your heart be troubled; Believe in God and believe also in me". The message at church today was all about trusting God and the reasons we have to trust Him. He knows the future, just as He knew ahead of time that He would lay down His life for ours, and we can trust Him to lead us through this thing called life. I know how you're feeling Les. Hang in there! Don't let your heart be troubled! He knows your future and the very path your life will take.

Melissa said...

I can only reiiterate what all the other commenters said. You are truly an inspiration. Your journey has given you such an insight into the real meaning of life. You now not only have understanding and knowledge of God and His creation, but now you REALIZE Him. That is three-dimensional, and something that many of us would crave to have.

Love,
Melissa

Jaime said...

So...Les....how are you doing? It has been almost a month...email me...jlswango@sbcglobal.net

In the sky said...

Hello--
I found your blog though a search looking for people (women mostly) that have hiked the trail. I haven't read about your journy and after reading this post I am looking forward to it. My husband and I are in the middle of talking about going. I've wanted to do it for a while now and was a little worried about being a woman on the trail, was it safe?
My friends brother (whom I have never meant before) is in the middle of hiking it right now, he is almost done and I can't wait to meet him and hear all about the trip.
You just got done with an AMAZING journy, I could only imagine what it must be like to come back into the world, after being a part of something so different.
Congratulations on the accomplishment!
Susie--

kate said...

my gosh, i feel this exact way after ever mountain i climb, even after being immersed in latin american culture too. it's hard to be a host to the dichotomy of our societal influences and our inherent internal desires to be self-sustaining and free to choose our own adventure. you can still live outside of societal norms while living in our society. it is a beautiful thing to exist in this world, but not be OF this world. that is how Jesus call us to live. it's an adventure every day.
regards,
kate