Collective Travel – by Kayley Rineck
a short blog session about togetherness (and other things)
Last night, after a joy-filled campfire and impromptu talent show, I said to the girls in my cabin, “I think I’ve laughed more this week than any other time in my life.” Traveling with a group offers many challenges, but mostly, it offers a type of joy that you cannot get with anyone else. Almost all of us have traveled with our families or even with a group of close friends. As a youth group, we have had a very special opportunity to travel with people we are comfortable with (brothers, sisters, parents, and best friends), but the more exclusive part is about the people that we don’t know. Four days ago, there were people on the bus whose names I didn’t know and didn’t really want to know; because I knew I had my “comfortables”. When we board the bus again tomorrow, I will know everyone’s name, and I will know at least a little bit of all their stories. I would like to say that they also know my name and a little of my story. This trip was a great forum to get to know those who we don’t. To get comfortable with the uncomfortable. My main motivation for writing this was the uniqueness of our situation. What a gift it is to have the opportunity to do this, because when else will we travel with strangers?
I have also observed that (for the most part) we bring out the best in each other. Our short discussions of reverence, respect, land, and tradition have cultivated in us a sense of appreciation not only for each other, but for creation. When thoughts like this are brewing, its much easier to be kind, supportive, and accepting of each other’s feelings and presence. We had separate campfires a couple of nights ago, and the girls and I had really lovely moments of said reverence. We shared honest and raw stories. We laughed at each other and at ourselves. We cried and grieved for each other. We (mostly me) cried in pride of who these young women are becoming. Our time away from the routine of home has allowed us to grow and expand within ourselves. Hopefully when we all get back, you’ll get to interact with a young person who has a renewed sense of self, a melted layer of stress, and more openness of the heart.
“Authentic faith leads us to treat others with unconditional seriousness and to a loving reverence for the mystery of the human personality. Authentic Christianity should lead to maturity, personality, and reality. It should fashion whole men and women living lives of love and communion. False, manhandled religion produces the opposite effect. Whenever religion shows contempt or disregards the rights of persons, even under the noblest pretexts, it draws us away from reality and God.”
- Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel