Hello, my name is: ______
You know those name tags that you get at big parties or conferences that you stick on and feel really dorky wearing? You know the ones I am talking about, the ones that say “Hello, my name is: _____” and then there is some name scrawled in sharpie that you may or may not be able to read…Well, if I had one of those for this trip it would read like this: Hello, my name is “worry wart”. Becky Frybarger affectionately coined me thus, probably the second or so week on the trip when I freaked out as she was doing a handstand up against a wall in a little hallway where she could have easily broken any number of bones, torn her ligaments, lost an eye or a tooth….the possibilities are endless! So, in short, I am the “worry wart” of the group. Put simply, when God created me, he forgot to turn down the volume for the inner alarm that rings out CAUTION! ALERT! ABORT MISSION! I guess you could say that I’m always on red alert.
Another thing to note about me is that I am a bit OCD. I suppose you could say very logical. I tend to think in black and white. I naturally tend to choose the black sharpie instead of going rainbow, and the print on my dorky name tag would rival Times New Roman. I’ll admit that I count a lot of things on the trip. I’ve counted my steps in a mile: 2,265. The highest elevation we’ve walked:12,206 ft. People who have walked with us:16. Mosquitos and flies squished on the top of the last rental: 17. Most tick sightings in one day:5 (not my favorite creatures……). I’ve even waved at EVERY car that passed on one of my shifts and counted how many waved back. 108 cars waved back, and 16 did not wave (I call these the “opposition”). Yeah, a bit OCD… So, by now you might be able to guess what God decided He wanted to be the theme for my walk: conquering my fears and just enjoying the rhythm of life. I found this out when two different guys told me on the same day that they thought it was part of their mission on the walk to help cure me of my fears. But, in all fairness I suspected what God was up to a bit before that anyway.
I was on night shift my first week of the walk. I dreaded night shift. Singing “Day is Done” during evening prayer would make me sick to my stomach because I knew I would have to go out and walk that night. I felt like I was going to die either by wild beasts, psycho men with guns who would shoot us, drivers falling asleep at the wheel or drunk drivers who would hit us as they swerved off the road. I could not walk without the light on and I would cringe and clench my fist when a semi or a car went by. This was my introduction to a process that I now call “fears conquered”. I can now proudly say that I have conquered my fear of night shift and a number of fears since then. I keep a list in my journal that I will share with you. So far, I have conquered the fears of: night shift, walking at night with no light, walking in the Rocky Mountains with elk on the loose, drinking out of someone else’s cup without dire necessity, wading through a creek in Nebraska, lighting a firework, touching the snake we found on the road, lighting an artillery shell (a type of big firework…that fell over and exploded, but that’s another story), putting lighter fluid on the grill, lighting a lighter, showering at an RV park by myself, walking in a thunderstorm, walking ahead at night while a walker stopped to go to the bathroom, and walking through a sketch part of St. Louis when the bars were closing. These may seem insignificant, and the details are really irrelevant except to illustrate the point that Crossroads has given me something invaluable. This is what is at the real heart of this blog and walk:
Crossroads is slowly giving me the freedom to enjoy life and truly live as I haven’t before. I am finally learning to just live in the grey of life instead of the sharp and cold black and white. The transition itself has not been instantaneous and clear cut, but a process. God does not use black and white very often, that’s probably why the world is in color. I have learned this on my walk. I am slowly learning to just let go. I have found that I actually like to conquer my fears. In essence, Crossroads has turned some of my prose into poetry, my words to song, and my walking to dancing. It has given my heart more freedom just to simply “be”. It’s kind of hard to put the entirety of it into words, and I will say that the process is far from finished. I’m excited to see what other freedoms Christ will give me through Crossroads by the end of the walk! As of today though, I can proudly say that the name tag I wear, if any, says something like this: “Hello, my name is: I am not my fears”
Kalin Lippsmeyer Central Walk 2011