Gone Gone Gone – Phillip Phillips

Jonah Kamnikar, Noah Kamnikar, Meredith Funderburg and I performed this song at this year’s Pop Show for our high school. As Noah and I graduated this past Saturday, this song fits perfectly as it says, “I’m not moving on, I’ll love you long after you’re gone.” Though we are soon moving on and ready to experience four years of college, the foundation that has been set here with family, friends, high school and church will never crumble. So to the above listed, I’ll love you long after I’m gone, gone, gone.

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A Traveler’s Guide to Exploring

As humans, we have about one hundred years on Planet Earth, and that remains true only if we’re lucky. If our Creator put us on this planet, I find it very unlikely that He expects us to be stationary, consistent, and generic. There is a literal world of sights, feelings, and newness waiting to be explored by us; the explorers.

It is in my belief that we, as explorers, are all called to rename the “unexplored” as “explored,” even if the areas we wander to are only unexplored to us. Traveling allows for life experience and knowledge because the most productive and efficient classroom to learn in is the world itself. I mean, it’s great if you can figure out the circumference of a circle or what 49 times the square route of 48749385 is. It’s even better if you can tell me that you learned another level of selflessness through an act of kindness from a stranger on your way to Belgium, or that you gained Spiritual maturity through prayer during a missions trip in The Philippines.

Take one second to look around you…. Odds are that 95% of people reading this are somewhere in their house surrounded by furniture and four square walls. Don’t get me wrong, I love the comforts of my own home and my bedroom is a true happy place. But beyond my bedroom there are lakes waiting for submerged feet on paddle boards, mountains waiting for tennis shoe imprints on their dirt, roads waiting for 65 mile per hour wheels down the soon-to-be Memory Lane, oceans waiting for their shells to be taken for natural souvenirs, and airplane walls, above my own four, waiting for passengers to fasten their seatbelt’s to begin their journey.

When I was little, I didn’t appreciate nature, playing outside, or the “great outdoors” at all. I hated sweating on a hot summer day, and I despised shivering in the middle of winter. Even during the in-between seasons, fall and spring, I always had something to complain about.

Just as an example, I had the privilege of traveling to Hawaii in 2008 for a family vacation. We got to see the Pearl Harbor Memorial, and just to prove how much I hated my life at the moment, my mom took a picture of me.

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This is the face of a highly unfashionable 8 year old with a mushroom haircut despising every moment of being at one of the most significant places in world history.

Another example is when my family and I went to Disney World in Florida. I loved princesses, but apparently not as much as I loved being inside an air conditioned room. Because of my incompetence to enjoy any ounce of the heat, I barely took the monotone woman’s advice on the phone for room service at the hotel who told me to “have a magical day.”

But this attitude of mine changed when I started really looking at God’s perfect divinity. Here is a fact: Earth is beautiful, and God created us to enjoy His creations.

All of creation works together as one to make where we live a place of joy and pure bliss. This bliss takes place when you realize that the mountains are giant rocks placed intentionally throughout the world to amaze anyone in sight. It also sets in on a dark, cloudless night when millions of bright stars blanket a black sky – stars that are physically not tangible, but emotionally, they’re touchable.

We are all destined to be great souls, but with consistency, “great” remains only a word, not a truth. The word “explore” means to travel in or through an unfamiliar country or area in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it. So I challenge you, fellow reader, to start familiarizing yourself with something unfamiliar, and to explore your own “unexplored.”