A few years ago, when I was visiting my dad in Boquete, I had the opportunity to go zip-lining through the rainforest in a park in Panama close to the border with Costa Rica. It was a hard, exhilarating, awesome experience that made me challenge my fear of heights, tested my strength, and left me as alive as I’d ever felt.
In one sense, this time of vacation has been the exact opposite of that experience. I stayed home. The most physically challenging work I did was work out on my elliptical. I have become so terribly distressed by the presidential campaign we’re about to collapse from that I refuse to read the news, watch TV or listen to the radio. I will go vote on Tuesday, and that shall have to be enough. Cleaning out closets and my kitchen cabinets does not constitute high adventure.
Yet exhilarated, alive, and challenged are the very words to describe these days. I am making headway in my writing again, and that means letting go of fear. One of the sections of the book I am working on will be about my experience in the ministry experiment we called “The New River Regional Ministry”. I kept all my e-mail correspondence from those years and have begun re-reading those files. It gets tough along the way and there’s also a kind of freedom that comes with being willing to revisit one of the most painful chapters in my life not because I can change anything but because there is still more for me to learn.
In a bit, I am going to head into Montgomery to resume my work as a parish priest. The rest of the week will be pretty much wall-to-wall busy. A year older, and maybe a week smarter, I’m ready.