I’ve found myself not using my camera so much in the last two days. I haven’t been seeking people out, learning their stories. I’ve spent most of my time just walking along the lakesides that rest beneath Japan’s most famous mountain.
I have been spending a lot of time thinking about who I am and about what that means to me, about the people I love and the people I’ve lost, about where I want my journey to go from here.
I know that I will go to Tokyo, perhaps tomorrow or the next day, and on Thursday I will take a flight home to Charleston.
I will spend a little bit of time seeing the people who have been so supportive of me, both before I left and during my journey, thanking them in my own way.
And, during that time, I will also have to decide if I am going to return to the classroom or pursue another career, whether I will work in South Carolina or seek a job abroad, whether to live in Charleston or somewhere else.
I was worrying about this the other day when I spoke with my daughter. I told her that I was feeling a little anxious about the future.
She said, “You’ll figure it out when you get back.”
It wasn’t just the comment that made me smile. It was the confidence with which she said it.
And, if the road has taught me anything, it is that I always do seem to find my path. Perhaps it isn’t the path I expected or desired, but I’ve always found it to be the right path with each step I’ve taken.
A lot of people over the years have asked me, “What do you want?”
I’ve been told that I can be infuriating when posed with this question because I generally will try to do what the person asking the question would like to do. I like to give to people.
But I have always known what I have wanted, whether I’ve made it clear to everyone or not.
I want everything in my life to matter, to have meaning. I don’t believe in checking boxes for the sake of checking boxes. I don’t want casual relationships. I don’t believe you can love someone and ever truly stop loving them–no matter what circumstances might divide you over time.
That was the thing that drove me in the classroom, and it has largely driven me as I’ve written this blog.
The minute that we say one person doesn’t matter, we have negated the meaning of every person. So often we choose to devalue one another because we have different jobs or different political or religious beliefs or because we’re from different cultures or speak different languages. But love transcends all of that. It is not only innately human–it is innate to life itself.
But cynicism, boredom, feelings of inferiority or worthlessness, and greed for wealth and power tend to blind us from that simple fact.
Either all life has meaning, or none of it does. And, based on all that I have experienced and seen, I have to believe in the former.
Until my next post, keep looking to the heavens and seeking your own star.