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November 07, 2003 - Friday, 11:38 p.m.

The Journey

Monday night I ended up arriving at the school for class about an hour before class started. I got a ride up to the university with Dan, my workmate that is taking classes with me. The Broncos were playing, so he headed home about 45 minutes before class started. I wandered around Dwire Hall. Our class was meeting on the third floor so I walked slowly around the building looking at the comics attached to professorís office doors. It was late, so none of the professors were around. It actually ended up being the area where the Anthropology department is. My undergraduate degree included Anthropology and it was really strange to walk by the offices and realize that there are still a number of the professors I took classes from 20 years ago still teaching at the college.

It is beyond strange to walk around the UCCS campus. It makes me feel like I am 20 years old again. I feel just like I did when I was going to school there all those years ago. That seems like an impossibly long time ago. My God, twenty years?!? And yet, I donít feel old at all. It is a wonderful feeling to be in school. All that optimism of feeling like anything is possible, that any dream can come true. Itís great. College was one of the places that I always felt like everyone was looking ahead and seeing hope on the horizon. But the rest of the world, the minimum wage world, always seems to be filled with people that didnít see the hope and promise in the road ahead. How much of our life is filled with people living lives that they see no way out of, that they merely exist in?

I love feeling like I am on a path again, that I am going some place. For so many years I have felt like I was just treading water. How many times I went back to school hoping to see some path, some way to get from struggling to perhaps seeing hope ahead. I struggled so much with every class. Over the last ten years of a class here and a class there, I got to thinking that I wouldnít be capable of completing a masterís degree. This semester has certainly taught me that it is not only possible, but probable. It feels great to know that my mind still works.

I love the idea of the Journey of Life being like a journey. The Hobbit is the perfect reflection of that idea. The Journey to Smaugís Mountain, is Bilboís journey of life. I canít help but think of my own life like a journey.

It seems that our life begins in a meadow. A beautiful meadow filled with tall grass and wild flowers, the sun it shining like a warm summer day. Bees buzz from flower to flower and young girls chase vibrant butterflies flittering in the warm summer wind. Ah, the childhood of our life, like the most beautiful summer day you could imagine. Thatís how it should be, and thatís how my childhood was. Mom and Dad sitting on a red and white checkered blanket with a picnic basket filled with the best lunch you can imagine. Then childhood comes to an end and you know you have to leave that meadow and move on. From your vantage point you can see a dozen paths. Wait, more then that. You can leave that field any direction you want, the paths leading away seem unlimited. But like any journey into the woods, quickly the path options begin to dwindle. Some move off in directions that seem hazy and hard to follow, other paths are worn deeply into the forest floor. Do you take the easy and worn path? Perhaps a direction that seems to have no path at all just a interesting vista that you can glimpse. Some paths lead to dead ends; other paths end up taking sharp, harrowing turns. Some are almost impassible. Some paths are littered with people; all sitting around waiting for God knows what. Some paths become so steep that you canít go back and you canít go forward without great peril. Sometimes your path crosses another path, and you travel together for a while. Before you know it a fork in the path appears, sometimes you wrestle and plead and yet you each go your separate way, perhaps to never cross paths again. And yet other times your companion sits down and refuses to go on. Sometimes you have no choice but to continue on without them. Hoping they catch up or find another way to return to your path, but most of the time you never see them again. For many years I was just in a small clearing, raising kids and surviving. I was working at making that great picnic lunch, praying for sunshine and flowers, and hoping that my boys would just remember it as the best summer day ever. I didnít want to do it alone, but I did, and it was a pretty nice day. But just like when you are a child, you know you canít stay there forever, you have to get up and keep walking. You donít know where the journey ends, and you donít know if youíll always tread the path alone, and yet you know in some ways, no matter who is walking with you, in some ways youíll always be walking alone, always making the choices of which direction to go. Iím moving again, and it feels glorious. The sun is shining most days, but the path is pretty quiet and some times itís scary.

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