Thankful: The Journey is the Reward

The weekend was absolutely incredible. It was unbelievably refreshing to be around Alex Kershaw, the visual artist from Australia. It’s not often that I feel inferior to someone, but his intelligence was a bit overwhelming at times. I’ve also never met someone as open minded as him. His assistant Chris was very similar, although he was much younger. It was an experience that I will never forget.

As we walked up the mountain my mind was quiet. I brought up the rear. My friend Doug walked next to me while Alex, Chris and my friend Steve led the way. We took turns talking and each of us had a little quiet time as well.

For some unknown reason I found my thoughts rather quiet when I wasn’t participating in the conversation. My mind was calm at the center. I enjoyed it almost as much as I enjoyed the beautiful weather. A slight breeze brushed over my face as I could hear a few ravens in the background. Although I was with four other people it was extremely peaceful. I had no expectations, so nothing caught me off guard.

Well, nothing caught me off guard until I sat on “The Rock.” The Rock is one of my favorite places in the southern Adirondacks. It’s a place I’ve gone since I was a teenager to rest my back and collect my thoughts. It’s a place where I was introduced to hunting. I could sit on The Rock and all of my thoughts would gently seep out of my head and drift into the sky above. The wind would take the thoughts and carry them over the mountains I could see in the distance. I was as free as a bird. When I was there I felt like I was part of the landscape.

Then Alex stood in front of me and I heard his voice, “Todd’s Story: Scene 3, Take 1.”

I sat comfortably on The Rock and looked slightly downward and to the left of the camera as I listened to Alex pose his first question. “Okay, tell me a little about the things you referred to in your second book about your divorce.”

I knew what he was referring to which made it easy for me to look into the camera and explain some of the landscape which I explained in the book. He gently nodded his head and smiled as I continued on. Being on camera was rather easy. It reminded me of writing. Although I knew what he wanted, the question caught me off guard. The question brought me into a place I didn’t expect to go and I was quite happy to go there.

I thought back on my marriage. Many people like to say negative things, but I try to dismiss the negativity that surrounds divorces and break-ups because there are so many positive things we can take with us after things fall apart.

I’ve heard many people wish bad things on their former partners and this makes me question their character. It also makes me question their emotional stability and whether or not they have moved on. At first we probably all wish bad things upon the person who dashes our hopes and dreams. It’s only common nature to do that. As time goes on we have to learn to let those things go and learn from the past.

I’ll be the first to tell you I probably made a few too many mistakes along the way, but they are mistakes I’ve learned from. I loved my wife and as I walked out of the woods that day I realized that I gained a lot from the relationship. She was a good friend. I also realized the circle had completed itself. I used to think about her every day. Shortly after getting divorced I remember asking my friends and family if I would ever stop thinking about her every single day. They ensured me that it would gradually get better. I was unsure, but listened to them. It took a long time, but eventually the agonizing thoughts were gone.

Now, if I think about her I just hope that she learned as much as me and that she has grown as much spiritually as I have. I’m in a much better place now. It’s not because she’s gone, but more because of the different route that my life took when it was time to stroll down an unexpected path that appeared in front of me.

I have many people to thank right now for everything I’ve accomplished the last few years. As sad as it might sound she deserves a lot of thanks. She motivated me to do the things that brought me internal peace. I hadn’t written in years until the events unfolded that November. I truly forgot how much I enjoyed sitting down like this and writing about things on my mind. It brings me more satisfaction than almost anything else in the world.

I also find it amazing how I used to shoot my bow every day of the year for hours on end. I haven’t shot it in over 6 months, not even one arrow. Of course most of that is because of the shoulder problems I’ve encountered, but I also don’t feel like I need to launch hundreds of arrows. I don’t miss shooting, I just miss being able to shoot. At this point I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to shoot again. I guess time will give me that answer. Right now I would just like to be able to sleep more than four hours without waking up with throbbing pain in my shoulder and arm. I know it could always be worse so I sit back and try not to complain.

I’m up for a new project. In the coming months I’ll have to start setting goals and set out to accomplish them. I feel fortunate that I have the ability to finish tasks once I start them.

Last weekend brought me to place I’ve never been, as well as bringing me back to places I once was. When it was all said and done it reminded me of something that was once spotted on an old, old gravestone in this area by one of my friends.

Under the person’s name and date of birth/date of death it read, “Where you are I once was and where I am you will soon be.”

I think that puts life in perspective. We have to do the things we enjoy and learn from each and every thing that happens to us. We might encounter some really tough obstacles. We have to push forward, take the blows on the chin and try our best to stay afloat. Once a ship starts sinking there’s no saving it until it hits the bottom. Keep your sails high and let the waves slap against your face and don’t forget that in the end the journey will be your reward.

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