When I first met Mike, he was new to Kerith and looking to join the worship team. I would never have predicted that I would end up in field laden with over a foot of fresh snow, fingers numbing as they wrapped around the trigger of a gun battling bottles in the heart of Estonia with him. Friendships are funny like that.
In fact, as I write this post (onto the ‘notes’ section of my phone), I’m frantically trying to wriggle my toes back into a normal sense of feeling in our Toyota-branded salvation, staring at the monstrous Hummer we arrived in, thoroughly thwarted by the snowfall. Life takes you to some strange places. I love days like this. The sort of days that in the future will be recollected with the pre-cursing statement, ‘once, …I’. One of those once in a lifetime opportunities with friends that you never forget. Like the time my friend Dan and I tried to buy meat in Kenya, or the time we took an inflatable boat onto the massive pond in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Life is made for those moments.
What I enjoy the most about such moments is that despite first appearances, they aren’t simply a one-off experience that fades into the darkest caverns of the memory. They are cumulative; every moment and every memory is compounded into life experience, moulding, shaping and growing us, broadening our outlook and horizons. After nearly 24 years of pretending with plastic toys and video games, I now know what it feels like to fire a gun and to sit in a Hummer. Sure, that information might not be relevant in the future but it’s there if I need it and it’s an experience to remember if I don’t! Isn’t that the fun of life though?!
Life isn’t there for you to endure; it’s there to enjoy. Our role is not to exist; it’s to experience. I want my life to be littered with ‘once, I…’ moments – beacons of light indicating a life lived to the full.
It’s so fitting that I’m writing this stranded in the middle of nowhere – I don’t know when we’ll get home but I have no anxiety about it. It’s just another ‘once I…’ moment!