On day 99 this amazing journey came to and end. After 2,514 miles and 5,404,877 footsteps taken, I have reached the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach, VA. I ran and JUMPED into the water around 12:30pm. As I neared to ocean and the buildings began to fade and the horizen consisted of water, I could not help but simply smile and laugh. There was so much going through my mind! As I reached the beach the adrenaline was at full throttle. I took the boots off, ran into the water, and dived in! As I emerged there was a crew from CBN and The Catholic Virginian Newspaper as well as many random people taking pictures.
It felt weird after all this time to just be done. It's been a day now, and I still haven't been able to process all that needs to be reflected on. There have just been too many memories along the way and it feels surreal. I have three days to relax and reflect on the trip. I am fortunate enough to stay on the beach at First Landing State Park. Last night as I watched the sun go down and the dolphins give me a show in the water I could not help but just think how much God has blessed me along the way. Part of me is greatful to be done, but another part was thinking, "Great. I finished this pilgrimage but this is just a part of my life... just a step in growing closer to God. Just because something has been accomplished does not mean life just stops."
Throughout this trip I have heard "There are a lot of crazies or bad people out there". Now I would simply respond yes, but there are MORE good people.
This journey has been such a blessing! Thank you to everyone who helped out along the way to make this trip possible, whether it was a donation, a meal, a place to sleep, a phone call or text (which sometimes got me through some of hard miles), a smile, a ride, a prayer, a song, and the list goes on. I would like to give a special thanks to the people of my home parish of St. Peters in Forest lake, MN. They have been very supportive along the way! It was very powerful to see how much they helped me out and to hear stories from my mother. It sometimes kept me going through some hard days.
There are so many thoughts running through my head I do not know where to start or finish. So I am sorry for keeping this so short. People have asked along the way if I will write a book, or asked what I am doing after this. As of right now I have no idea and am trying to just have faith in God that he will show me what He wants me to do.
THANK YOU, EVERYBODY, WHO HELPED OUT AND FOLLOWED ALONG WITH ME ON THIS JOURNEY,
The Finish Line
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
-2 Corinthians 5:17