Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Traveling Again

Traveling Again

After almost two years at home, I was overwhelmed just ordering the Uber to the airport. I needed to reclaim that in-between space while traveling as home. Once Christopher dropped me off, I was back in the stream. But as soon as I got to the counter, I was delayed and would miss my connection. My mind began to spin with logistics. Could I still get to Denver tonight? Would I have to go tomorrow? Should I just rebook now? The delay threw me off.

I was rebooked through Minneapolis. It all worked out, though I didn’t arrive in Denver till after midnight. In texting my wife, Susan, I almost wrote, “Something went wrong.” But I stopped myself, caught by an earlier flight deplaning. Dozens of passengers scurried out of the arrival gate, like bees scattering from a hive, buzzing about, intently focused on the countless choices suddenly before them.

Each person carried an entire world with them. It was then that I realized—all travel, including dream, is an approximation. And when something doesn’t go as planned, which is inevitable, that unexpected change isn’t wrong, just different.

After witnessing this truth, I texted Susan and said, “I am delayed. This is beyond what I expected.” This made me less intent on arriving anywhere and I watched my fellow travelers, humbled that so much of this life—in all directions—is beyond what we expect.

We aim, we miss, we learn from where we land, and try again. It is presumptuous to assume we will always get what we want or land where we aim. I sat at gate A28 remembering how almost every gift of love and grace that has come my way has awakened me when I’ve fallen off course.

I looked around at all the other bees in the human hive, of which I am a part. Now, I wished unexpected blessings for each of them. I hoped the lonely seeker would miss her flight and meet her love. I hoped the agitated builder would lose his way and stumble on the one thing he was born to repair. I hoped the father estranged from his daughter would be so delayed that he would have to soften, after hours in the terminal, and finally find a way to call her. And now, I hope that I can outlast my frustration and welcome whatever searing angel is waiting in disguise to pull me deeper into life.

A Question to Walk With: Tell the story of an unexpected turn of events in one of your travels and the gift it revealed.

This excerpt is from my book in progress, Falling Down and Getting Up.

For a full calendar of upcoming events, visit:

Mark’s 2022 Calendar:

AUG 26-28: Mercy By the Sea, 167 Neck Rd, Madison CT, weekend workshop, Reclaiming Our Humanity: Being Fierce and Tender in Our Call to Love, Fri 7-9:30PM EST Sat 9:30-5:30PM EST, Sun 9:30-1230PM-- IN PERSON

OCT 28-30: Harmony Hill Retreat Center, Surviving Storms: Finding the Strength to Meet Adversity, A Weekend Retreat, IN PERSON

SEPT 16-18: Friday Night Reading and Weekend Retreat (Sat and Sun), Surviving Storms: Finding the Strength to Meet Adversity, The Sophia Institute, Charleston, SC, or call 843-720-8528,  -- IN PERSON


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