40,000 miles for peace

CampThe last story has been recorded.

The final portrait has been made.

A Peace of My Mind: American Stories has been heard.

Now it must be told.

In a perfect world, I would have edited these stories along the way. But this is not a perfect world.

There are 90 interviews waiting to be edited (the binder you see in the photo is about 1/3 of the transcripts) and as I sized up the task in front of me, a few thoughts drifted through my mind…

Sometimes we go so fast that we can’t see the big picture.

We get lost in the details and the demands…

they fill our lives and our minds so full,

that we can’t see what’s next…

can’t see how our piece fits into the puzzle of life.

I’ve been in that place for  the past three years.

I’ve driven 40,000 miles across our country,

visited every corner and met people with amazing stories,

from every background.

We’ve talked of pain and struggle, hardship and heartbreak.

Transformation and forgiveness…

perseverance and hope.

Mostly hope.

It’s been a difficult journey in many ways.

Miles on the road and time away from home.

Balancing life and work…

more or less.

There have been long hours and self-doubt.

Frustration, worry, and tears.

And there have been moments of deep joy and connection…

with strangers who I know will be friends…

For life.

We are not so different, we humans.

We laugh, we cry,

we long to connect but we don’t know how.

I see a deep yearning to connect, and awkward efforts.

I’m back home now…from this epic journey.

Back where I belong…

and grateful for the time and space I’ve been given,

to do what I needed to do.

There is a mountain of work in front of me,

as I sort through the stories and make sense of it all.

I can feel thin threads of a cocoon wrapping around me…

settling in for a long winter with the stories…

days of contemplation…of refining.

I know what’s going to emerge will be beautiful.

I can’t wait to hold it in my hand.

I don’t know exactly what it will look like.

But it will speak of hope.

I pray that others will see it too…

That the hope will soak deep…

deep into their souls…

and be a gift to all who encounter it.

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