Revel in your natural and well-deserved joy. Abraham-Hicks
We wouldn’t have missed it for the world. We would have traveled the globe to get there. In fact, that’s what we did. Literally. We started at Sydney at ten in the morning on a Thursday, flew for hours and hours over the Pacific and through that magic date line portal where time bends in on itself, landing in Los Angeles before we even started as the sun rose up over the city on that very same morning. And this was just the start of a day that had already ended back in Sydney. We climbed on another plane that carried us east over Oklahoma, Arkansas and into Atlanta in the late afternoon. And that’s when we felt like we could do it; we could just keep on flying; we could fly around this whole wide world and of course we would if that’s what it took. And sleep – we began to think that maybe sleep was over-rated. Who needs it anyway?!? So, it was with a remarkable degree of spunk that we marched onto that final plane of the day, the one that would carry us back out west again, to our final leg of Mystery Trip 2012.
We landed in Denver as the sun was setting over the Rockies on a day that had stretched on forever, rented our car, and made the call on cell phones that now, for the first time in a week, worked again. “Pete, we’re here,” we said, “and we feel remarkably good.” And so, in the evening hours of this longest day, we met our son and daughter-in-law at a Thai Restaurant in Boulder, and we savored every bite of a visit that had taken an Outward Bound degree of effort to bring into fruition.
I remember that first Parent/Teacher Conference with Mrs. Rundman, our son Pete’s third grade teacher. It was early November and the leaves had fallen off the trees and it was dark outside and we weren’t sure what we were heading into. But this was a bright light, a spring blossoming in the dampness of autumn, this conference with Mrs. Rundman. She saw our son’s gifts, the ones that weren’t showing up on Friday spelling tests and in neat-and-tidy-evaluations of his reading skills, the ones that we had always known were there. “He’s brilliant,” she said. “His mind leaps and it bounds and he thinks in an abstract way well beyond his years.” And she smiled as she added, “If he does nothing else, he could make a million dollars on a game show.”
I thought of Mrs. Rundman all these years later, the next morning, in the brisk May mist of the last day of our Mystery Trip. I thought of her as I sat on the sandstone bleachers in an outdoor amphitheater at University of Colorado’s campus in Boulder, with Cam on one side of me, and Shelly, Pete’s wife, on the other. Although he hasn’t been on a game show and he hasn’t made a million dollars, she was right; Pete is brilliant. And there he was, on this misty overcast morning, shining his bright light, beaming his smile, as he stood on the stage in front of us. You could say that it began nearly eight years ago on that first day of graduate school, this journey that was culminating before us now. Or maybe that it began back at Central Michigan University where he spent his undergraduate years. Or maybe it was his high school English teacher who sparked his interest in literature and writing. But I think it was always there. His passion for thinking in leaps and bounds, outside the box of a traditional fill in the blank life.
And that’s what I was celebrating on that morning three weeks ago, that Pete has done it. Not only has he completed the course work, cultivated his teaching skills, published the articles, written the dissertation, but he also has stayed true to his course, kept his brilliant light shining. So there he was up there on that stage, wearing his blue velvet cap and an elegant PhD shawl draped over his gown, smiling broadly and looking as though he were born to wear it, and there we were, smiling back at him. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world.