Time of writing: 8:00pm 14 July
As I lay here in my tent for my final night before returning home, I can’t help but look back on the highlights of the past two weeks. It already seems so far away; it’s odd how that happens.
I think the thing that’s touched me most are the people I’ve met along the way:
- the artist lady and her children who reminded me to keep an eye out for animals and birds
- the fitness walkers in Lane Cove who wished me well
- the father with his children who kept me company that first day when I was quite anxious about whether I’d make it to the finish
- the Duke of Edinborough group who welcomed me around their campfire
- the Christian missionaries who left me with such a sense of peace
- the cyclist who took me to water
- the Scout leader who shared a yarn with me when I was lonely
- the teenage boy who insisted I take $3 in change because he thought what I was doing in taking on the GNW was inspiring (I am going to donate the money towards my Cycling for Hope challenge)
- the wounded warrior camped next to me at Stockton Beach who gave so much for my freedom (I hope he finds peace for he is only my age but has paid a heavy physical and emotional price)
- the man camped on the other side of me who I only met tonight but who offered me a lift to the airport (I politely declined because I have to leave early in the morning)
- all the other people who’ve taken the time to stop and chat as our paths have crossed.
The journey has been intensely physical but also deeply spiritual. Everyday I have spoken to the elders past to tell them why I was traveling through their land and to offer my respect. Everyday I made time for prayer. Today I bought some simple prayer cards from a church of another denomination from mine. I spoke with the good people there and they gave me an extra card: A Blessing for Travelers. I will keep the prayer in my heart and will also wish it on others who take a journey on or off the road:
Loving and gracious God, you always show mercy to those who love you, and you are never far away from those who seek you.
Remain with your servants as they travel far from home, and guide their way by the light of your Word.
Shelter them with your protection by day, given them the light of your grace by night, and as their companion on their journey, bring them to their destination in safety.
May they see your face in everyone they meet, and know the depth of your love on every road they walk.
At the end of their journey, may they return home once again with renewed faith and hearts full of joy.
On this journey I learned that if I just put one foot in front of the other and don’t give up, then, even with a heavy load and rest stops, I will get to my destination. It might not go according to plan and plans might change. But that’s just par for the course. And the most magical moments occur when my heard is open to hear what my ears cannot.
(for the Great North Walk story)
Total: 16km walking around Newcastle over two days