It is 5:00 am. The bus is sitting outside the church as the kids all arrive. There is a buzz of energy and a genuine sense of anticipation. We are also sort of sleep deprived. We are headed for YouthQuake. An American Church experience. Lots of teenagers and music, laughter, serious teaching and the assorted shenanigans associated with a group whose median age is 15.
The last two days people have been praying for a safe trip here. Several people have told me "be careful." I am not driving I will be on a bus. The words are a generic expression of concern. No one thinks I am going to do something dangerous. They just know that "things happen." Something about long trips makes this awareness more keen.
I went to a Benedictine seminary. We lived next to monks and their monastary. They shared the wisdom of their way of life. I remember several points. Their teachings were generated by St. Benedict who lived at the time of the fall of Rome. "Moderation in all things" "Pray, work, study" and "Keep death always before you."
The last one, a reminder to live every day as if it were your last, is considered morose by many. I think it makes sense. When you leave for a trip there is no promise you will be back. There is hope. Life is a journey. Be careful. Live each day as if it were your last. Live in a way that prepares for the next stage.