One of the reasons the trail appealed to me before beginning is the ability to take time away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life and to think and focus on things. Lately thinking has caused the trail to be mentally challenging, but I'm working toward turning that thinking time into something more positive and focussing on finding direction. The direction most people I walk among are focused on is North. Keep walking north until we reach Mt Katahdin in Maine. The direction I'm in search of even more, is that of which my life should go.
I've been blessed with many opportunities throughout my life to try out new things, especially within the past 10 years. I've gotten to experience living in different areas, getting to know different people and cultures, and trying out different jobs within a company. Often times thoughts can be unnerving when they involve trying to figure out where I want to live and what I want to do after the trail. Even being on the trail this long with as much time to think as I've had so far, I still can't say I know.
Now, I was born and raised Catholic, but while living in Merced, my trainer at the gym invited me to come check out the church he went to, no pressure. I went a few times and after a while, really started to enjoy it. I left many times feeling as though I got a lot out of the pastor's sermon and that I could change my life (and hopefully others' lives) for the better with this knowledge. I found myself getting a lot out of the messages, examples, teachings, and application discussions with the group at Faith Bible Church.
Between pastor Rick who is a down to earth, energetic, comical, and caring guy, to all of the caring members and especially some of those I've become closer with, it was great to feel like I belonged there and to feel like I was getting more out of it than most of my previous experiences in and out of church/service. Over the past 6 months or so, and especially over the past almost 3 months I've been on the trail, some of the people of Faith Bible have helped me along the way, aiding me in finding direction, but not just north this time. Finding direction through and with Christ.
I spend time each day praying for friends, family, and those I know specifically who are in need of some prayers, as well as praying that I remain strong and healthy both physically and mentally, enabling me to complete this journey.
I'm still in search of where I might find myself after this adventure and what I might do, and I really appreciate all of the love and prayers that many are sending my way, especially those who have been in contact with me from Faith Bible. For all of those helping me find my life compass, THANK YOU!
Oh, and a short trail update. Got out of town and back to the trail somewhat late (around 10:30am) after a southbound thru hiker from last year picked us up and gave us a lift. Hiked 15 miles in some high heat and humidity, and ended up camping at Dick's Dome Shelter. Rained a little on and off throughout the day, then more when we got to camp and were making dinner, and now as I lay here, there's a steady rain falling. In reviewing my book, it looks like if we do a 21 mile day, we can say goodbye to Virginia! Looking forward to that!