This last week while visiting my friends at Wilderness Expeditions, we discussed the idea of Telos. Telos, or the “end,” has long been a fascination of mine (see: telomerase) and therefore something I’m familiar with. Our lovely guides asked us at the beginning of the week what our goal or Telos was for the week, and my answer was pretty easy to come up with.
As discussed before in this space, my time at WE (or Trek) was transformative. My second summer in the Rockies made me much of who I am today and introduced me to God in a way I’d never experienced Him before. Therefore, my Telos was to recapture some of that magic; as I put it, my guide-self is the best version of myself, and someone I wanted to reconnect with in a bad way. However, as the week progressed, I had a vivid realization: I was chasing a ghost.
Ten years ago a very green, very unprepared college sophomore arrived in Colorado Springs not knowing exactly what he had gotten himself into. Eight years ago, that same person walked off the mountain for the last time irrevocably changed by God and His majesty. In the meantime, life happened. To assume that the 2006 version of myself would be effective in 2014 is to miss the point–God needed me to be one thing to those kids, and needs me to be another thing entirely to the Sugar Grove kids (not mention my own kid, the biggest change so far).
Declan, Abby, the Toys/Saint Germains/Gutowskys/Lees, my family, even my cat–they don’t need 2006 me. They wouldn’t do well with that and I wouldn’t be equipped to handle half of what life will throw at me. God has molded me into who I am for a purpose, and the longer I look back in time at the skinnier version of myself, the longer I miss that purpose. I’ve done that before; I don’t want to do it again.
My Telos now is to be present in my life: to be a minister, a teacher, a father, a husband, and a friend that is fully aware of what is going on around me and engaged with the world the way I’m called to be, not wistfully recalling the past and trying to paper over cracks in the present.
Time will tell if the 2014 version of me walked off the mountain for the last time. Odds are, I’ll be back, and there will be past versions of myself waiting for me, excited to see what I’ve become and ready to push me into the future…whatever that may bring.