Driving home from a fantastic ‘week-end with the girls’ in the Berkshires, I found myself utterly stopped. Traffic on a major thruway never moved more than 5 feet for an hour. And yet, I was lost in a story.
I had flipped on NPR and was listening to a segment on This American Life. The studio lead-in proclaimed, “A perfectly normal guy gets rid of everything he owns, changes his name, says goodbye to his friends — and begins walking. In the name of peace.”
Daryl was inspired by the first Peace Pilgrim. He decided to follow her footsteps. Yet, he had not realized how difficult it was to walk for days on end and without the securities of our normal lives. He said he had not nearly enough respect for Peace Pilgrim and the strength it took to walk the continent. So, after just 3 days, Daryl had had enough. He ended his quest, called his mom, and wait for a friend to pick him up at a hotel in Maryland.
While pondering on this venture, he realized: He forced himself to do this. No one demanded that he give up everything in his life, only he did.
I was struck. I remember a similar, albeit not as dramatic, awakening to the thought “I am not Mother Teresa. I do not need to be able to go to Calcutta, carry others off the street, and care for them while they die”. I am Kate. I have my own unique talents, and while I strongly maintain to utilize them for the benefit of others, I must be motivated not to replicate her holy and awesome life, but meld my own. While following Mother Teresa would be incredibly difficult for me in some realms, it would also be far too easy. Because that life has been lived. And this one hasn’t yet.
Some days, I still struggle with that concept. I want to help this world, in big ways, because I see no reason why we shouldn’t have a better place to call home.
And although, I eventually re-routed my drive home after calling for some local roads advice, I sat with the modern-day peace pilgrim’s story for quite some time. Amazed at his courage to fail, and grateful for his ability to share that in a national broadcast.
At the end of the day, we can all walk for this cause- it doesn’t always mean giving up the necessities or following another’s path. Our own journey can be rooted for peace.
For more information on Daryl’s Story check out his blog.