i left in october (technically, end of september) 2008 for the world race, an 11-month missions trip to 11-countries. it’s been five years, eight months, and 28 days since then, and i still
- refer to my up-close-and-personal encounters with God from that season;
- am reminded of the hard lessons learned;
- feel the remnants of the crucible’s fire (mmmm, feedback);
- remember prophetic words spoken through and over me;
- recall the friendships formed and the amazing hospitality showered upon us all over the world (this is one of the biggest redeeming qualities of social media, otherwise a major time suck);
- am amazed that once upon a time, i didn’t know the 50ish fellow men and women with whom i sojourned for 11 months;
- ache, albeit not as acutely, from brokenness i witnessed
- rejoice in the gentle miracles and mighty movements i glimpsed
- marvel at how my worlds keep expanding, shrinking, and colliding simultaneously
yes, it was a most epic season of life. but it will not–cannot–be the pinnacle of my life.
my prayer has been that the world race would not be the highest mountain i would summit. when i die, i don’t want to look back at my life and think that my life’s most exciting adventure happened when i was 25, that the world race was the best time of my life.
i rebuke that so hard. instead, i see those 11+ months (pre- and post-race) as the finishing touch of a foundation — the ceiling of the basement of a mansion. while it’s appropriate to go to the basement time to time to grab something you need — those steaks from the freezer, or that vintage from the cellar — it’s not where i’m supposed to settle.
admittedly, it has been more challenging to recognize that the years since my world race have been adventurous and momentous in their own right, particularly since my nomadic tendencies have tapered off quite a bit in the past couple years. and while the lsat and the law school application process had their adrenaline-inducing moments, it was more stressful than it was thrilling. and from the accounts of the attorneys that have gone before me, it might be apropos to liken the next three years to the journey to mordor à la the lord of the rings: the two towers (is that allowed if actually haven’t read the trilogy?), making that epic global missionary trek into a cakewalk in comparison.
as i reworked my personal statement to ten law schools, it was clear that the world race was, without a doubt, pivotal. and the effects of that year keep reverberating throughout the facets of my life — my worldview, my approach to work, my interactions with people, my relationship with God — and i’ve no doubt that my study and practice of law (and [please, God] marriage and parenthood) will be influenced, too.
and that was the point of the world race — to me, anyway.
the world race isn’t something i finished — it was a start to something more, to something greater.
before the world race, God had been stirring in me. the world race set me in motion, and i haven’t stopped moving ever since. i’m more and more convinced it’s not the experience itself that keeps generating momentum; rather, my continual, progressively intimate encounters with God propel me forward. it can’t be coincidence that God brought me back to new york and the state motto is “excelsior,” which liberally translates to, “ever higher,” right?
suddenly i feel inspired to look into the prophetic meanings of the state flags, mottos, nicknames, for which i blame/credit the world race… anyway.
the world race has changed a lot since i went on it and even since i was on staff at adventures in missions. there are, like, eleventy jillion more people that have gone after me (and a very modestly increasing contingent of people of color, i hope?) and i’ve lost track of how many times the alphabet’s been cycled through (my squad was the original g squad, fyi).
yet i continue recommending, with confidence, the race to those who are eligible and (holistically) healthy enough to go — not because it’ll be the best time of your life, but because it’ll make your life better.