I’m so proud of my nephew, Blake. He just finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail is 2,653 miles long and begins at the California-Mexican border and ends at the Washington-Canada border. Blake started in March and just finished last week.
It was an amazing adventure. He dealt with extreme heat, deserts, blizzards, rattlesnakes, and bears. He was stung in the eye by a bee and his face puffed up like a pumpkin. He had a satellite phone and he kept us up to date with texts and pictures. It was great to follow his progressive.
Halfway through the journey it became clear to me that Blake was on a spiritual pilgrimage. It wasn’t just a long hike; it was a journey of the soul. He soared to the heights, and he plumbed the depths of his humanity.
Through it all, everyday Blake got up and stayed committed to the trail. He said he never deviated from the trail despite all the obstacles. He wanted to make it every step of the way.
I think about Blake as we contemplate moving back into our building . . . hopefully mid-September. We have been on a pilgrimage that started a year and a half ago. At the time we thought we’d be out of our building four months tops, maybe five. There have been many highs and lows during this time. And yet, we’ve stayed together. We’ve linked arms and we’ve walked the journey. Hopefully the end is in sight . . .
As we contemplate moving back in the Covid Virus with the Delta Variant is surging through the globe, the country, our state, and our community. We’re going to need to take steps to protect ourselves, our neighbors, and our children. It’s like hitting a false summit. Just when we think we’ve come to the top of the hardest part, there’s more yet to climb.
The Council this past week voted to require masking and social distancing for all in person worship and community gatherings. We’ll have more information for you the closer it comes to actually worshiping together.
I know this puts a damper on our big kick off. Instead of a huge party, it might be a slow take off as we work through the many different covid restrictions. Please know our highest commitment is to keep you and your family safe. But as I keep telling people, it’s only a mask. Surely, we can wear a mask. The best part about September is the possibility of coming back together. Mask or not, we will be with each other face to face and that’s what is so important and special.
After finishing the trail, Blake had to hike 36 miles to the nearest town and then hitch a ride to Seattle to take a plane to Bend, Oregon, where he lives. He was greeted by my family and friends who were excited to see him home. It was a sweet reunion. Blake has now entered the phase of working to process his big adventure and explore it’s meaning.
The same will be for us. As we come together, we will begin exploring what this time away from each other has meant. None of us will ever forget, the year and half that we spent wandering down a trail that none of us knew where it would lead. The only thing we knew for sure was eventually someday the trail would lead us home together.