It has been two years so forgive me for the lack of detail this entry. The important part of these days will never be forgotten. Unfortunately every day is not spectacular or truly memorable, that was not today. I was completing a journey that has not only spanned distance and time but emotion and trial. My friend Greg whom I was staying with brought me back to where he picked me up the day before. Fortunately today was a beautiful day, not the beastly New England weather it had been the past few days. I would be walking with dry feet today!
I set out and made my way through the burbs of Boston, every mile becoming more and more commercialized. I was just waiting for that moment that I have experienced many times before driving down the Pike, where I can see “The Pru” on the horizon, one of Bostons’ most distguishable sky scrapers, but this time I was a little different. Not only because I was walking but because today that building would be my “Oz”, the crystal palace in the distance at the end of my yellow brick road, route 20. Finally in what I remember to be Waltham, there she was, my “Oz”, a visible finish line after 152 days of walking. Route 20 criss-crossed as it made its way into Boston, crossing under the Pike, and creating just a few more tests of my ability to push Buddy along the last miles of our trip. I was getting more and more anxious, just wanting to be done. I was able to view Boston from a different perspective that I ever had before by walking into it. I was able to see how to city functioned from the city limits to its downtown epicenter. It was interesting to see route 20 on the east coast and compare it to its beginnings on the west coast. Ocean to ocean and the plethora of the diversity in between will always be something that fascinates me. This simple patch of pavement that spans our country connects so many but we each use it in our own little sectioned off pieces but yet it serves its purpose for all. As this little patched came to an end I walked over a bridge where the Pike crossed underneath and to my surprise who passes underneath, my parents who were on their way to finish this journey with me. What are the odds of me seeing them, what a wonderful moments that gave me the last burst of energy I would need on this trip.
I am finally about a mile away from Christopher Columbus plaza and I hit what seemed to be the never ending brownstones. One block after another after another, I felt I was in a glitched video game where the screen was just repeating itself. Fortunately that was not the case and I came to Boston Common and the state building where there was a demonstration going on for the teachers unions. A group of young men was walking next to me and one bumped into Buddy and his friends began jeering at him that he was trying to hurt the baby they thought was inside! I just laughed and continued on, maybe they still joke about it until this day, who knows. So past the state house, past the police station, through the crowds and Fanuell Hall and finally I see my parents who are there to help finish the last few hundred yards. What a wonderful way to end this trip, with those who more than anyone were with me the entire trip. I did not talk to anyone more than my mother on this trip, she may have well been on the road next to me, so it was wonderful to finally have her there with me. We made our way to Christopher Columbus plaza where I knew I could get to the water. I see the Atlantic and it is surreal to have started in one ocean and finish in the other. I find a part of the walkway I can hop over and carry with me down to the water my two little containers filled with pacific water. I pour one of them into the Atlantic and with the empty container fill it up with Atlantic water. And with a third container I mix the two so now sitting on my bureau at home is one of my most prized possessions. A container of Pacific water, Pac-Lantic water, and Atlantic water. My journey was complete. With my parents taking pictures and videos I was able to breathe a final sigh of relief, hop the railing and go enjoy a victory lunch with my parents in one of my favorite places, Quincey Market! What a day, What a day!
So what does it all mean . . . I will try my best to keep it simple.
All of us want to say something profound in our lives. A well placed sentence falling on the ears that needed to hear it. Some people, God has called to announce these profound moments and hopefully they give thanks for those words they’ve rented and shared with others. Sometimes it is the simplest of phrases that need to be heard to reassure someone that those simple things are sometimes the only things that matter. As I am writing this I am trying to stay away from being ironic and trying to write something profound and being “that guy”. Fortunately there is another side to those profound words and actions. It is the lucky receiver of these nuggets of wisdom. I have been blessed with being that person. I feel I have become a keeper of these moments. I have been blessed to be the recipient of someone’s wisdom. Unfortunately with being the person that I am, I forget sometimes. I forget the simplicity I once had. There is not a day that goes by where I do not think of my walk and very few days go by when someone does not ask me about it and I thank them for that because it’s like air to a flame, it keeps it alive and allows me to remember.
It has been two years since I began, two years! Why does the pain seem so long ago but the joy is still with me? For many, pain in the most difficult feeling to forget. In times of pain people of faith find that there is purpose, meaning, and beauty in pain. It allows us to give that pain to God and offer it for a much greater purpose than we could ever imagine. Purpose in pain! For me, while I was on my walk I used it as motivation and would offer it up. Two years have since passed and that pain is no longer real. Like God forgets our sins in confession, I have forgotten that pain. The feeling that sticks with me is love. I am no longer surprised at how generous every one was on my walk because if I was still surprised, than my trip was worth nothing. Nothing would have changed if my view on the world as a dark, cynical, selfish place was not altered after walking. As much as I watch the news or read the paper my view of this world is no longer skewed by evil acts. Many times we do not realize we are the victims of the bad news happening around the world. When we lack faith, our minds, bodies, and hearts fall prey to those horrible things and our views of the world and the people that live on this earth are darkened. We no longer see the love we posses but only the potential of evil. I ask you to open your hearts, to be uncomfortable, and to love as if it will never hurt.
I lived the greatest life I could have lived in those 152 days not because of anything I did but because the love of God and his people!