This weekend I flew to my hometown, Victoria BC. Something settled into my heart. Like a ghost finally finding its body. A smile creeped across my face. “Peace.” I thought to myself.
It only took one step off the plane until I realized how familiar home will always be to me. The trees were green, drenched in fog, and the sun hid behind softly illuminated clouds. My childhood raced through my heart and I remembered every cherished friend I grew up with.
In light of my childhood I thought to myself, as young adults ask themselves “Who will I become?” Hell, every person of every age ask themselves that. But we very rarely ask ourselves, “Who will I choose to be?”
For anyone that has grown up with Victoria, you’re raised with this firm belief in the truth that you’re very separated from the rest of the world. You’re raised an islander. You’re stuck right in between the hippies, the surfers, and the Sunday drivers. Yet I never understood the depth to which these things shaped me.
You see, Calgary is in many ways the anti-thesis of Victoria. We move fast and we move hard. We’re a city that loves to push limits, who breathes ambition and exhales production. In so many ways I have found my own identity in business. As a wedding photographer, a business owner, and as a Christian this is what we do. But if this is how the city has shaped me, did I really choose to become the man I am today?
These questions riddled me over my stay in Victoria. My old friend Colin was gracious in offering his couch for the weekend. Strangely had not seen each other in 5 years. Yet nothing had changed between us. 5 years of silence was washed away into ocean as the two of us recounted our childhoods together, shared every new and wild thing about one another, and once again become best friends. Yet there was something very different about us.
Midway through a hike with Colin I hung my legs over the train bridge suffocating in anxiety. I sat 600 ft. above a rainforest as Colin led me through the island I had grown up in.
I had forgotten so much of my life in Victoria and I had forgotten so much of who I was. As I watch a Colin walk along the rotting train bridge the sunrise marked every step he took further away from me. I felt a lump sitting in my throat.
As I watched my best friend make his way further in the sun and further away from me, I realized my age has hardened me, has changed me, and distanced me from the man I want to be more like.
I’m writing this post out of a love for my best friend Colin McColl. He is a man who embodies the islander spirit. He loves to give, he rarely furrows his brow, he never envies and he harvests every ounce of peace the Pacific tides bring in.
Spending this weekend with him gave me a wild reflection of myself, how I have been shaped by Calgary, how I’m both proud and ashamed of who I am. How the core of who I am will never change and how I restlessly desire to be changed. In this city of hustle and bustle I write this in conflict with who I want to become.
I want to become I man who loves to give, who rarely furrows his brow, who finds peace in a very messy world. Who is honest with how he feels, who gives in to his desire to explore. Who pushes himself in photography, in ministry, and in his love for God.
So I leave you with this one question that I fall asleep asking myself. “What will you do with this one wild and precious life?”