A couple friends and myself led a 2 week expedition to Mexico City before Christmas with a group of about a dozen college guys. It was a freakin blast. It was a combination of an adventure trip and a mission trip and a pilgrimage. Why have one when you could have all three?! We spent the first 5 days in Mexico City where we worked with the Missionaries of Charity where they run an orphanage, a woman’s home, and a home for abuelitas, all of which contain residents with sever mental and physical disabilities, many of whom were left abandoned on the streets by their families and them taken in by the sisters. It was some serious tough work. Not for the faint of heart. I was so blown away and impressed with how the guys handled it and just jumped right in to work alongside the sisters. We then went on a 7 day expedition to summit Pico de Orizaba, the 3rd highest summit in North America coming in at somewhere around 18,500 ft depending on who you ask. This was a wild and epic adventure and such a rad time. Unfortunately we did not reach the summit. The conditions of the glacier were historically awful and icy and it wasn’t safe to trek all the way to the top (so unsafe that unfortunately there were some deaths and serious injuries on the mountain the weeks before we got there so we were especially cautious). Even without summiting, it was still an absolutely incredible and unforgettable mountaineering adventure. We then ended the trip with a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who never disappoints.
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
This past weekend, I extended my weekend by a few days and snuck away to the Blue Ridge Mountains after an onslaught of back to back to back very busy weeks for me. It was one of those gifts that I didn’t know how badly I needed it until I was in the midst of receiving it. It was an opportunity to turn off my phone and be away from the noise and from constant distraction for 4 days and just be with myself and the wild world around me. Oh so good for the soul. Yet also difficult. Continue reading “Weekend in the Wilde”
Last week I went to see the Avett Brothers Documentary “May It Last.” From the first few minutes onward, there was something about the witness of their lives as portrayed in this film that stirred something deep in me. I loved the soundtrack (obviously) and the throwback to Carolina folk and bluegrass and country, and the deep and insightful reflections about these musical styles and how they run much deeper than mere melodies and rhythms but speak to us something about our human experience. Continue reading “No Hard Feelings”
I came across a journal entry of mine from back in May today and I thought it might be a fitting reflection for this Labor Day, in which we celebrate the millions and millions of humble unsung heroes upon who this country was built and is being built. It contains the treasured wise words of an elderly professor whom I look up to immensely. I hope to be a tenth of the human that he is one day. Here is the entry:
What happened in Charlottesville and the ripples it is causing throughout our nation is disturbing and cannot be ignored. I have made an intentional decision to avoid politics on this blog, but I feel compelled to hopefully contribute something helpful to this conversation. I will attempt do so in an apolitical manner, because politics are currently far too charged with far too many emotions and passions right now.
Also, I lied. These will mostly not be my thoughts, but the thoughts of someone far wiser than me. His name is Joseph Ratzinger. You may have heard of him. This is a man who lived as a young man growing up in Nazi Germany, a country dominated by hatred and violence. And he said the following back in 1981. Back when windbreakers were just becoming cool and long before all of the madness we are currently experiencing (yet I’m sure those times had a madness of their own, as does all of history…).
This is what he had to say, and I think he strikes right to the heart of the real issue behind everything we see currently happening in our country (emphasis in bold is mine):
I had to conclude my thoughts on the topic with the thoughts of one wiser than I, so I would like to share with you an excerpt of a post written by my friend Tom Neal who I have quoted here on this blog before and will continue to quote many times from now into eternity (if you would like to read his whole post, you can do so here.
Here is what he had to say:
It’s hard to believe its been over two months since I’ve written anything here. There is something about the elusiveness about the month of May; it always seems to slip through the hands in an instant. And then there was June… And here we are, summer is high upon us and life is good.
I have spent more or less every summer of my life since 1996 (barring a few summers of travel) here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina here at Camp Chosatonga (www.2funcamps.com), and I am beyond stoked to be back here again this summer. Camp is a special place for so many reasons of which I would love to and hope to write about here. But for this post I wanted to focus on the beauty of camp’s wildness, being set apart from the world, away from the buzz and busyness of the city life. I am almost halfway through my year without social media and camp seems like a fitting place to take some time to reflect upon what I have learned and more importantly what I still have to learn.