When I was in college, I had the opportunity to go on a Maymester to Scotland. That was in 2008. It didn’t travel internationally again until 2018 when I went to Taiwan. I prayed that it wouldn’t be another ten years before I travelled again. And that prayer was answered. In January I’m headed on a pilgrimage to Israel with the church.
When I was preparing to go to Taiwan last year, I felt led to read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It’s not the typical book you’d pick up before a mission trip. It’s not even approaching “churchy,” but it was just what I needed.
Because at its core, the book is about mental toughness. Cheryl Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail by herself with little knowledge of hiking and camping. She endangered herself and got a lot of things wrong. She could have turned back countless times (a few times she probably should have) but she didn’t. She simply refused to give up. She had reached a point in her life, mentally and emotionally, where she didn’t have any other option. It was hike or die.
I really needed that message. Not so much for the time I was actually in Taiwan but for what has come after. On my job, as a writer, in my personal life. I get tired and discouraged. And angry. So angry because I’m doing what’s asked of me and yet it’s just so damn hard. But I’m not giving up. It’s not an option. It’s not in the vocabulary. This is a no-fail mission.
I have no idea what will come out of the trip to Israel but I’m going. Because, really, there just isn’t any other option.