Many years ago, Uncle Sam sent me to Tokyo to live and work. I spent my free time exploring the city’s nooks and crannies. One weekend, I decided to leave the city and ride the Ome train line to it’s terminus in the mountains. On some level I realized that the train map wasn’t to scale but I was still surprised at what seemed an interminable trip. As the afternoon lengthened into evening, I felt as if I’d been riding forever and still hadn’t arrived. In many ways, that trip became a metaphor for my life. I’ve been riding for decades and still haven’t arrived.
The Air Force brought me to Japan and gave me a pretty straightforward job—I was responsible for moving people and things by air. I did that for a long time, commanded a couple of squadrons and wrapped it up as a Mission Support Group commander. In Texas, I trained juvenile justice staff, administered a university-based psychiatric hospital and ran Human Resources for a large state agency. A “cradle” Episcopalian, I’ve participated in parish life around the globe. I found God lurking in the unlikeliest of places and holiness among the commonest of souls.
The trip up the Ome line became progressively more beautiful as we moved out of the city and into the hills. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the journey was a pilgrimage. And like all pilgrimages it was more about beginnings than about endings. I’m still riding and having a wonderful time.