The wonderfully kind and grace-filled ladies of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Glenwood asked me back. Two years ago I spoke at their spring retreat about hiking the Appalachian Trail. On a recent Saturday, I presented on our family’s 10-week vacation to Alaska two years ago.
It went OK, but as I was driving home there were so many things I wished I had said. So many thoughts still in my head that I didn’t express. As I mentioned to one of the ladies, that’s why I like writing better than public speaking — you get a second chance to get it right. If you don’t like how it came out on paper the first time, you can change it.
When you speak though, or at least in my case, I kick myself for either not saying what I meant or omitting something I wished I had said. Additionally, I wish I had crafted my presentation to reflect more of my faith — to share more of the lessons God taught me on our trip. So, here’s more of my “talk,” just in writing versus out loud.
Alaska was a deal changer for me. It has helped me to think bigger.
Let me give you an example: In the town of Seward, Alaska, there is a large mountain called Marathon Mountain. Every year on the Fourth of July there is a race to the top and back down again. Although it’s only a 5K — meaning, 3.1 miles from start to finish — it is not for the faint of heart. The course elevation is over 3,000 feet, and many runners return injured, bloody or both. I have no desire to enter the race (been there, done that; my greatest running feat being the Boston Marathon back in 1995 prior to marriage and kids); however, I do have a desire to hike it.
When we were there, the possibility didn’t even register in my brain. I think I just thought it was “too much” and didn’t even give it a consideration. So much for that kind of stinking thinking! Anything is possible with God’s help. Our next trip to Alaska will include a hike to the top of Marathon Mountain, the good Lord willing.
Alaska helped me to see God more clearly. Not that Minnesota isn’t pretty darn great, but Alaska is just so big, so vast, so incredible with God’s beauty that it helped me to be more aware of his presence.
And with that awareness has come a greater appreciation. I try to write things down in my “awareness” journal. Little things. Big things. In-between things. They all help me realize how present God is in my life.
Not only did Alaska help me to see God better, but it also helped me to want to know him better. More. Deeper. Closer. I keep asking God to give me the wisdom and revelation to know him better. To lean in more.
Wherever I go, whatever I do, I want you with me, Lord. Or, more accurately, I want to remember that you are always with me. Whether I’m on vacation in Alaska or speaking in front of Christian women in Glenwood, Minnesota.
Rita Meyer is married and the mother of four children age 17 and under. She and her family are members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Meire Grove. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.