This is the 16th article in a summer series on the life lessons that travel has to teach us, by guest blogger Jordan Ring.
The sun was shining, the lake was calm, and the company was excellent. It was a day to remember, and a day that I will not soon forget. Some would describe it as “nice” or “awesome” but these words don’t even begin to express the magnitude of joy that my heart screams out upon remembering.
This ranks as one of the best memories of my life in its simplicity, peace, and serenity. I of course remember my wedding day, the day I started college, and the day I hit my first home run in little league. I will always cherish these memories, and thinking of these moments surely tugs at my heartstrings. Yet I remember the day out on the lake with my tennis coach, Chet Rogers, in a different way than these, in a way that I admittedly do not fully understand.
I hope to find enlightenment while writing of it, and to gain a clearer picture of the special place this memory has in my heart and soul.
Travel as a means of discovery
Quite often when I think about travel I think about missions trips to other countries, honeymoons, or vacations. I don’t often think of travel as a means to escape the norms of one’s life to discover something new. However, I think this is truly what travel was meant to be. It is ameans to discover a new part of ourselves, and a means to grow.
I picture the memory of that perfect day, the gentle breeze, the mild temperature, and the cold and crisp water. I had gone down to Chet’s house expecting to get a tennis lesson, but was instead pulled into a day on a boat, out on a lake. It definitely was not my plan, but it was hard to resist the allure of spending a beautiful day outside! I am so glad that I went, and so happy to have had that day.
I picture the memory as a small little vial in my mind, to be recalled fondly whenever I am in need of a smile. I’ll put the cap back on that memory vial, and store it for the next time that I am feeling blue. It is something that I will always have ready to be released upon the whirlwind of my busy mind.
Chet Rogers was a great man, a great friend, and a great tennis coach. His death while I was away at college hit me hard at the time, and to this day I still struggle to comprehend that the day on the lake would not be repeated, that it was truly a one time deal. I had my chance to spend time with him learning how to fish, steer a boat, and play a few rounds of tennis afterwards. He may have been in his 80’s but let me tell you, he was still GOOD at tennis and gave me a run for my money!
I grew that day on the lake. I grew in a ways that I did not even realize. I was able to accept the calm of the day and reflect deeply on life, and just enjoy the time spent. Chet pulled me away from getting better at tennis (which was why I came to visit him!) and took me out as would a grandfather. We had no relational ties, and had only known each for a few years, but despite this, he showed great kindness.
At the time, I did not know why he wanted to take me out on the lake. I had never expressed interest in learning how to fish, or anything like it. I’ll never know why he was so keen on getting me to go out there with him, but I can guess that he did it to give me a true memory, and to teach me that life was meant to be lived through learning new things and tackling new adventures.
I will love the memory of that and cherish it often. It is my hope (and strong belief!) that I will see him again one day. I look forward to many more days out on the lake, in waters and sunshine more clear that anything we can imagine. I will look to him, and mutter the only words that seem to fit, and the only words that need to be said:
Jordan Ring is new to the wide world of blogging. He enjoys making weird faces, eating apples, and playing ultimate frisbee with his wife. He is obsessed with the high fiber diet and is currently in the best shape of his life and enjoying every minute of it. For more awesomeness, head on over to his website at www.FiberGuardian.com.