Day 9 Monday, July 18 Ontario, OR to Boise, ID 70 miles
I don’t even want to start to this blog tonight. I have been gorging on the richness of today and anything I write is going to feel dissatisfying. Today was the first destination of my intention to visit all the places I have ever lived (except WI) as a way to get in touch with my own story, my own background and how my spiritual narrative has evolved.
I arrived late morning on the campus of the College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho. Wow…what a wave of nostalgia, a distant memory of who I was and who I wanted to become. Many of my posts have been laced with theme of leaving home, coming home, and contemplating home. Returning to the campus gave me an immediate feeling of home. This was the place where I began believing in myself.
So much of my story was shaped at the college. Two professors, Dr. Howard Berger and Dr. Bill Chalker, became mentors and people I have tried to pattern my life after in one respect or another. The college is where I met my wife (now ex) with whom I had two lovely and remarkable children. I stopped by the registrar’s office and got caught up with Susan from whom we had rented our first little (I mean little!) house when my wife and I returned to college. Tonight I spent some time with two of my closest friends from those college days.
The C of I is also where I wrestled with where my life would eventually go. Back and forth I went from a religion major and a P.E. minor to a P.E. major and a religion minor. I was passionate about both subjects and both disciplines. In the end, both were equally attractive to me and I ended up graduating with a double major in religion and sports and fitness center management.
And then it hit me! There I was riding my loaded down touring bike through the meandering sidewalks of the campus during a stop on this spiritual pilgrimage of mine. There were my two majors married into one–religion and athletics right there on display.
As I write this I think about what I say in my “Meet Brian” page about healing this spiritual schizophrenia I have felt between my professional life as a minister and my personal spiritual life and disciplines. I think about the many people I know who live in Portland and the Northwest who already feel closest to God or experience the sacred while snowshoeing on Mt. Hood, cycling in the Gorge, or digging in their lush green gardens.
I feel a yearning, a sadness, and a hope this evening. 25 years ago I coudn’t make myself choose between two different majors and so I chose both. I feel that same yearning I had back then to express my passion both through my religious values and my love of cycling. I feel a sadness that this much of life has passed without fully giving expression to this dual passion I feel inside. And tonight I feel hope. I feel a hope that comes from the discovery that something that I have felt deep in my soul may actually have a form, a shape and a name.
As I stood between the buildings of the old gymnasium and Strahorn Hall for the Humanities I suddenly became aware that, at least for this moment, I had two majors and one life.