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The Best Worst Decision of My Life

The Best Worst Decision of My Life

 
By:  Mission Team May 30, 2021
#AmazingNation, #Courage, #Strength , #Struggle, #Winning

For a guy who cannot get enough adventure in my movies and other entertainment, I am not a particularly adventurous person. I am quite literally a creature of habit that is irritated easily by change, and not very fond of seeking out the unknown. And a pivotal moment of change that happened in my life came in the form of my friends moving away. To combat the transition of them leaving, I was desperate to stay in touch with them, and which I managed to do rather successfully.

But in order to stay in touch and try to get in a visit here and there, it forced me to be adventurous in finding ways to spend time with each other. Well, there was this one time where our plans to hang out with each other transformed into a literal adventure like something straight out of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. And what could a mere group of high school boys at the time accomplish that was so grandiose and life changing? A seventy-five mile pilgrimage, that’s what!

Back in 2017, my friends and I had planned out a time during the summer that we should all get together and do something big, and outside our usual hangout routine, which was playing video games and eating junk food.

My friends gave us two options: a weekend-long camping trip or a week-long pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Wisconsin. Without a second thought, we all decided to go with the pilgrimage, as that would give us the most time together.

“Seventy-five miles, that’s easy!” I said, completely brushing off the idea of just how hard the trip was gonna be. It was not until about a month before the trip that my parents suggested my brother and I start training ourselves for the pilgrimage, which we ended up taking their suggestion very lightly.

As I continuously put off the weight of the upcoming trip, I slowly started to worry just how difficult it was going to be. And by the day before we left, I wondered what the heck I had gotten myself into.

Getting on to the bus to reach our starting destination really filled me with a feeling of dread, and I sat there, slowly realizing that this would be the last time I would be in a car, under a roof of some sort, and with air conditioning. Plus, I was now with a bunch of strangers!

The group not only consisted of the original friends, but also about twenty other boys from their church, along with a priest and brother from the seminary. When the bus eventually left us alone on our feet in the hot Wisconsin countryside, and ready to embark on our long trek ahead, I came to the conclusion that there was no going back.

 

The first day did not turn out so bad, being an easy seven, perhaps ten mile trip to our first stopping point. After a nice night of camping, and thinking that it could not be so bad after a chill first day, my dreams were crushed by the pouring rain in the morning and about fifteen miles of walking to finish.

Thankfully, the rain stopped by noon, but not before soaking my feet enough to start the growth of some truly hideous blisters. As my blisters started and the rain stopped, things got really hot and really fast. My feet hurt like crazy and everything burned, and by the time we got to our second campsite, I can vividly remember falling face-first on the cool grass, lying lifeless for so long.

The next few days only seemed to add salt into the wound that this trip was causing. The third day was the longest so far, being around eighteen miles. By the end of that scorching day, I felt even more lifeless than the day before. But that night, I was hoping that things would start to turn for the better.

Well, they did not get better. They only got much, much worse. On Thursday, Forecasted thunderstorms in our area practically made us sprint the first seven miles to outrace it, but when we stopped for lunch, the rain picked up into torrential downpour. After trudging in the rain for hours, and soaking wet and in terrible pain from blisters and exhaustion, I literally wanted to stop, lie down, and die.

Somehow, I continued onward, and ended having the worst night of my life sleeping in a dripping tent. I groggily got up the last day, and embarked on the final stretch with a throbbing, pulled muscle in my leg and countless blisters on my feet. I felt like I was walking on sharp rocks. This day seemed to last forever, feeling like it had no end. This made  me question why I was doing this and what I was even gaining from this experience.

When we finally took that last step in front of the shrine, I collapsed on my knees, and suddenly realized something. Literally being at my knees before Jesus in the shrine, I felt on my heart that this trip was more than a get-together. It was an opportunity to view my life and faith in a deeper way. I saw this trip as an analogy of the earthly life, as we travel through life, toiling through suffering, and all toward the goal of being with God. It made me think of how I was directing my life in this pilgrimage, opening me up to the ways of how I could direct my path in life back to God.

This is an event that I will never forget! It changed me so much, and helped set me on the right path for years to come. I encourage you, if you have the chance to do something like this, take that chance for adventure like I did! You might find that God has so much in store to show you if you seize the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone!

Photo Credits:
https://unsplash.com/photos/C7B-ExXpOIE
https://unsplash.com/photos/lu15z1m_KfM
https://unsplash.com/photos/WWb4gn130JI
https://unsplash.com/photos/jnJ89cuXMcs
https://unsplash.com/photos/-B8bB3rH_Gk
https://unsplash.com/photos/rWJ2RthM-gc
https://unsplash.com/photos/ZKBzlifgkgw
https://unsplash.com/photos/zXVk8mNl9M0
https://unsplash.com/photos/M2Kxb80gqcc



About the Author Mission TeamThe mission team is made up of writers within the HN team who serve for a time with our ministry to Awaken the World to the Power of God's Love. Through their efforts, their vision of making a world where no one suffers alone is an encouragement to many hurting people of all ages. 


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