Rivers and Roads

Briana Merrigan - Ecuador


July 31, 2014

“A year from now, we’ll all be gone, all our friends will move away,”

As I sang these words at my graduation party surrounded by lifelong friends, I felt something coming to an end. Not the end of friendships, but the end of this stage in life. We are all inevitably pushed and pulled in every direction at certain points: Graduating high school, graduating college, moving for new jobs, retiring. The world moves on and we can choose to move with it or stay right where we are, unwilling to accept change. I choose to move with it.

“Nothing is as it has been, and I miss your face like hell.”

Yes, painfully so. I already miss everyone. My six year old sister who won’t understand how long I’ll be gone, my friends who are going to college together, the people I like, and the people I love. Nothing will ever be the same. Eight months from now I might think in Spanish, my ginger skin may be one big freckle from living so close to the equator, and I’ll hopefully even have faces in Ecuador that I’ll miss like hell.

“And if you don’t know what to make of this, then we will not relate,”

I’ve had neighborhood parents tell me I’m crazy, and that I’ll never get back “on the right track”.  There are friends I’ll come back to, and others I won’t. Maybe we won’t relate after this year, but I sure hope we will.

“Rivers and roads, rivers and roads, rivers till I reach you,”

We are all on different journeys, every one of us. I am on a different journey than the people I will stay with in Ecuador, than my best friends, and even the other Fellows in this program.  We are on personal journeys, spiritual journeys, or journeys across the world. We are ripped apart from each other and put back together, maybe different than before but still connected.  Just like rivers and roads cross over each other like webbing, so do our lives. We may intersect at one point and then again at another, or we may even travel parallel to each other.

Sure, I’ll be far away in a few weeks, but no farther away than a couple rivers and a couple roads, (and maybe a plane or two).

Briana Merrigan