The day I left on my journey to North Carolina in 2010, my mother handed me a page torn from Guidepost Magazine.
I kept it in the middle console of my little black car, folded neatly in half.
The article stared up at me as I drove, and appeared in my dreams throughout my first week in the wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“What are you going to do with your week off?”, my co-worker asked me one night around the campfire.
I thought of the article, still in the middle console of my car.
“I’m thinking about going to Smoky Mountains National Park. I hear there’s a valley within the park where thousands of fireflies synchronize their flashing lights for one week each June. There are only two places in the world where synchronization occurs.”
The first morning of my week off, I start my car and head west down the highway, but I haven’t even reached the Tennessee border yet when my head starts to spin.
“Fireflies Aren’t Meant to Live in Jars. This is the perfect representation of my mantra: The beauty of one working for the greater good to create a natural masterpiece of freedom and empowerment.”
Then why am I so terrified to witness it?
My eyes swell with tears and my chest feels like lead. My turn signal goes on, and like that, I’m off the highway. I can’t go any further.
What if it doesn’t meet my expectations? What if it isn’t magical, or cleansing, or empowering? What if I still feel pain afterwards? What if I don’t? I’ve held on to my burdens, my grudges, my guilt for so long… What if I’m not ready to let go?
The ‘What ifs’ are too loud and my heart is too heavy. I turn the car around, and head back toward my comfort zone.
To be continued…