Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.St. Pope John Paul II
Blessed with Adventures
God has blessed me with so many things this summer, and it isn’t even over yet. Over these past few months, I did so much. The adventures I had were ones that I hadn’t necessarily planned, but they were better than I could have imagined. I learned a lot about myself and I grew closer to many of my loved ones. Most importantly, the Lord has been constantly revealing himself to me. He gave me the grace to encounter him in everything that I’ve done, making this summer not only an adventure, but an adventure with Christ.
Learning to Love Water Sports
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in touch with my “athletic” side. I love nature and the great outdoors, but I’ve gotten comfortable with just sitting and observing them. This summer, I’ve been able to explore and adventure in ways that I’ve never done before and that I’m excited to do again. I learned that I love water sports like kayaking and paddle boarding, not only because I love being on water, but also because I got interested in them through my friends, and I made a lot of memories with them.
Allie, one of my best friends from college got married this summer, and I was overjoyed to be one of her bridesmaids. After her bridal shower in Pittsburgh, we had an unconventional bachelorette party, which was kayaking in North Park! Because I never kayaked before, I thought I was going to tip the kayak and fall in several times, but that never happened. It was so peaceful to drift along and listen to the water. It was a bit of a workout to row, but I was in a tandem kayak with a buddy to help me, and I took on the challenge of keeping up with the veteran kayakers in our bridal party. I loved talking and laughing with my old friends and the new friends that I made that day. Being surrounded by a huge lake, lush trees, and a breathtaking sky was perfect.
Almost a month later, four of my friends from high school and I traveled to Fayetteville, West Virginia for a much-needed girls weekend. We wanted to round up as many of us as possible for a trip before we moved, started working, or started our last year of school. We spent half of one day paddle boarding, which was something else that I tried for the first time this summer. I had no confidence that I would be good at paddle boarding until Mikayla told me that she thought I’d be the best at it. Claiming that I’d have the best balance because I’m a dancer, I said “bet” and made sure I was the first one to stand up on my board! I expected to fall in, and I did at least three times, but I wasn’t afraid. Even falling off of the paddle board was fun, and I was able to laugh at myself about it. At first we hung around the shallow, calmer waters, but soon we were ready to explore the New River Gorge. We loved going out in the choppier water where boats made waves that we rode on. As the five of us ventured farther and farther out, it was awesome to see everyone paddle out of their comfort zone.
Finding God in nature is something I’ve been learning to love lately. Especially when I went paddle boarding in West Virginia, I found myself looking around at the trees, cliffs, bushes, and rocks as I drifted in the New River. I couldn’t help but whisper, “Wow, thank you, Lord,” several times that day. It truly was the day the Lord has made, and there was so much of him all around us. I saw him in the beauty of his creation, and in the joy of my friends. He reminded me that he was with me through all of my adventures, constantly guiding me and protecting me.
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My Upcoming Adventure
God has given me so many adventures this summer, but there’s still more to come. In ten days from today, I’m moving to Washington DC to start my year of service with Franciscan Mission Service. I can’t believe that I’m finally starting my journey in our nation’s capital and embarking on my adventure with FMS. I’m so excited for this new chapter, but I’m also nervous to live farther from home in a new city with new people and doing new work. I think the Lord gave me a summer of adventures to show me that it’s good, and even holy, to take risks and try new things. He helped me to love life more, to take chances, and to get out of my comfort zone with excitement.
The word adventure comes from the Latin word adventurus, meaning “about to happen.” What lies before me with FMS in Washington DC will be an adventure without a doubt. I look forward at what’s about to happen and feel exhilarated, scared, and at peace. In the adventures and journeys that God blessed me with these past few months, he prepared me for the big adventure ahead of me. Moreover, he assured me that he’d be with me every step of the way. No matter what this next year holds, it’ll be the adventure of a lifetime because I’m embarking on it with my Heavenly Father.
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