There’s no boredom quite like long-car-ride boredom. Nothing-to-do-at-home boredom is certainly valid, but you can at least take a walk, go to a restaurant, or hole yourself in a bathroom for a half hour. None of those are options in a car. Instead, you’re rechecking Twitter, and not just in a healthy every-couple-hours kind of way, but in a hamster wheelish “It’s been a couple minutes, maybe someone else said something funny” kind of way. If that sounds droning, remember that the other option is staring out the window hoping you might see a cow eventually.
I’ve had to do a lot of these long car rides lately. Thanks to a combination of new schools partnering with our Youth Ministry Team and my own travels, I’ve done car rides to Pennsylvania, Lake Cumberland, Pennsylvania again, Hocking Hills, Lexington, and Columbus all in the last four weeks. Some of those trips have been with friends and family, but most have come from my work here at the JSC.
I’m not really designed for long periods of immobility. My sensory processing issues make it hard to sit still, and my ADHD makes distracting yourself from the inactivity even harder. Despite all this, I keep finding myself in the passenger row of our new sprinter van, sitting impatiently, maybe with a book but probably looking at my phone, waiting for us to arrive at the retreat site.
And the effects of all that travel don’t stop when I get out of the van. I have to sleep in a new bed every night and can’t fulfill my regular exercise routine in the morning. When I’m thrown of my internal schedule like this, it’s easy for me to feel groggy and imbalanced when the actual retreat starts. Come to think of it, the imbalance of travel is probably why people pray to St. Christopher to begin with. When everything around you seems to be moving and strange, God might be the only constant you can rely on.
We like to fetishize “Travel” but what I think we’re really fetishizing
is being on vacation. The actual act of travelling is never fun; it’s the destination we care about. The destination is where we don’t have to work anymore and the fun starts. Travelling is just the last bit of work to get out of the way before the fun starts.
And we all just want the fun to start, if only the travel wasn’t so much work.
My own journey is entering its third year in the Ignite program. I’ve talked with other members of Catholic young adult communities, and I haven’t met many people doing a third year with their program. A few are doing a second, but no thirds. I’m unique, but I pray not in a bad way. To me it’s not a matter of being stagnant but needing the time to grow. I’m still learning, especially with expanded roles in our social media and as sacristan for the Center. What this means for me in my next step, I’m not sure. But I’m trying not to cut my travel short because I just want to get to the fun already. I’m forever adjusting and changing, and I’m so grateful that I’ve had the Jesuit Spiritual Center with me all this time.