Like the elder whose brief letter with its many personal references is the reading today, I would reach out to many that I will not be seeing for a time yet. I am embarking on a journey more challenging than I have ever done. I have packed my bag with the expectation of dealing with the cold and the wet--the very wet. Lord willing I will not take an involuntary swim in the Dolores River, but if that should happen I have my wetsuit, layers of Under Armour to bolster the neoprene, life jacket for flotation. And of course, the other paddlers, all more experienced than I, to fish me out. My brother John instigated my participation in this trip and I don't want him to regret having invited me. So I have also prepared my body for the rigors of the river, with several training outings on the Potomac in my kayak, daily sessions in the gym, even weight training--usually anathema to me. I'm as fit as I've been in some time. But while I am joining an expedition I'm also leaving albeit temporarily the responsibilities of husband, father, employee, and lay minister. I am alreadymissing my family, NOT missing my job, but yes, missing many brothers and sisters. So I hope to say, when I return to your midst, it was great to get away, but great to see you again. I know, as John knew, that letters (and e-mails) are but a placeholder for the face-to-face community in the spirit.
Peace be with you all.