A story of soul sustainability | Worship

By Joe Chambers, Restoration Church Mukilteo | May 14, 2014

While hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in central Oregon, I came upon a young lady named Megan and her dog.

She sat in the shade reading a Steinbeck novel, strands of gray streaked through her long brown braids. We chatted for a while, and then I moved on.

Later while taking a break, I heard singing – the kind you do with ear buds in thinking no one is around. Megan hiked toward me singing along with Alanis Morissette. She blushed, waved and kept walking.

We kept meeting and having clips of conversations. She mentioned that her father had dropped her off at the trailhead in northern California. I asked, “What does your father think of you hiking the trail all by yourself?”

Shooting me a defiant look, she asked, “What does your father think of you hiking the trail all by yourself?”

Feeling I might have offended her, I said, “He’d be jealous.”

“Yeah, my dad is jealous, too.”

Another time, I asked this bohemian Californian what she did away from the trail. She said she is a sustainable transportation planner and program developer for a small college.


She said it again more slowly, as if I couldn't keep up. I smiled, and asked her to tell me about her work.

“I advocate a vision of transportation systems that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, move the most people in the least space with the least energy, and promote public health through exercise.

“I promote strategies for transit service, transit capital improvements, transportation demand management, automobile parking, pedestrian and bicycle connectivity and safety, and wayfinding.”

“Oh,” I said.

The more I affirmed her work of stewarding the environment, the more she talked. Sighing, she said, “I want this Earth to be alive and well long after I’m gone, and I've dedicated my life to make that happen.”

“How long do you think this Earth is going to last?” I asked.

“Not very long, if we don’t do our part.”

“I couldn't agree with you more, Megan,” I said. “The law of entropy states that anything left to itself will become more disorganized and more random. The Earth is not sustainable because the universe is not sustainable.

“The best minds have said our sun will one day go supernova and burn out. I believe in doing everything we can to care for it. An old Jewish proverb says, ‘The grass withers, the flower fades and surely the people are grass.’”

She stared at me. “Are you saying I should not be trying to save the planet?”

“No! We need you to do your best to sustain this good Earth. I’m just saying, ultimately it is winding down. But you aren't. You will live forever. Just as thirst proves there is water, your passion for a sustainable Earth proves that you have eternity in your heart.

“You long for significance and sustainability. It’s in your DNA. Megan, you have sustainability in your soul. Taste the huckleberries at your feet and hear that woodpecker rapping away on that tree – you are similar yet very different.

“Another old proverb says, ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts.’”

She blinked and asked, “Who are you, really?”

Smiling, I said, “I’m a soul sustainability transportation consultant and program developer for a small group of apprentices in Washington state.”

She just blinked.

“I’m just messing with you, Megan – but I do work hard to awaken the sustainable. I hope you will continue to do your good work and listen to what your soul is trying to tell your head.”

“OK,” she said. “Do you have any extra coffee?”

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