“MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” ~ Thomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude”
This was one of the readings that we used in our first evening prayer in our Portland community; “what does your road look like?” was the follow up question to this passage. I sat there trying to imagine what my road has looked like after starting this new chapter in my life with the Lasallian Volunteers. Is it a smooth sailing road? A curvy road? What about a bumpy road? This time of reflection made me realize that the road my life is on at the moment has so many different elements to it. My road is curvy, bumpy, and headed towards a very large, dark tunnel.
Curvy is a description I started off with because I never really know what is going to happen next; what is around this next corner? Last May, as graduation time was approaching, I really had no idea what I would be doing in the coming year. I had several different options and thought processes going through my head. I considered going to law school, teaching abroad, finding some job around Chicago, or spending some time volunteering. I did not know what I was going to be doing with my life. Then the Lasallian Volunteers popped up into the picture to straighten my road out a bit. There are still a few curves here and there with my job (still getting use to having a big kid job). Every day we are doing something different and we have been told not to expect the same things to occur every single day. I have already been sent out into Portland, and its surrounding areas, to drop students off at training for their internships…did I mention I am from Chicago? I generally do not know where I am going but it is a good thing that I have a smart phone as a life saver.
Speed humps. That is how I would describe my bumpy road. If you don’t know what a speed hump is, it is a speed bump but much larger, you really have no choice but to slow down when you come up to one. The only problem is that I am not slowing down. I am driving along this speed hump filled road at full speed. I am hitting these obstacles without even tapping my breaks. I have moved across the country. I left friends and family behind and jeopardized several relationships. I am working in a place that I never thought I would be at in a million years. I am living in a new community with new people. There have been so many changes that have occurred so far and I am going along with it all. I don’t know how these things will affect me in the long run. My car could be bottoming out at any time but I have not fully thought about that possibility yet…This just added another speed hump to my road.
Finally, I would say that my road is headed towards a tunnel and I don’t know where it leads. I don’t really know how many times I can say this, but I do not know what the future has in store for me. Will I start driving on a smooth road in the bright, shining sun or will I arrive at a bumpy, curving road in a dark, dense forest? Who really knows? It is a mystery to what my road may turn into after this chapter. I have to take it one mile at a time. I feel like I should be roaming around in the mystery machine.
P.S. I would just like to mention that it is National Dog Week…so here is a photo of my pup from a few years ago. I hope he brings a smile to your face and will brighten the road you are traveling on.
Kacey Gavin, 12-13, De La Salle North Catholic High School, Portland, OR