We all know the iconic poem and the line with the ever lingering question that nags at our soul.
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by.”
Mr. Frost makes it clear that the one less traveled makes all the difference, but what he doesn’t say is what led him to this divergence, how difficult it is to turn away from the one which looks easier, and just how hard it is to take that first step down the road because of all the staggering beatings you took to get there.
If you have read any of our blogs in the past, you know we can tend to focus (maybe too much) on the pitfalls in our society, but I thought today would be a good day to alter that trajectory just a bit. I would like to give you a glimpse at the youth attempting to take those tentative first steps down a road they hope will ‘make all the difference’. These youth, being our current Seekers, are the reasons we try to accomplish all we do with Veritas Life Adventures.
Once again, this is just a brief glimpse into the lives of these maturing leaders as they come into the program, usually battered and challenged with multiple circumstances that have led them totheir own diverging roads. This month I would like to introduce you to Somiari Tobin, who just recently turned 18, and is one of the strongest examples, I know of, who continually chooses those paths which will ‘make all the difference’.
As one of my favorite characters, Batman, puts it in Batman Begins, “We need dramatic examples to shake us out of apathy.” Well, Somiari used the dramatic examples of his own
experiences to do it in his own life, and I hope they might be the catalytic examples to your own lifestyle altering changes. So without further adieu, I give you Somiari Tobin.
Having your home wiped out by a hurricane is ‘difficult’, having a father around but hardly ever there is ‘challenging’, having debilitating injuries cripple your physical activities and sports opportunities from the 8-11th grades is ‘discouraging’; but having all of these, well, that would make anyone question whether continuing on the road, let alone choosing an even more challenging path, a nearly impossible one.
However, my man Somiari, shows us the character, determination, and faith we all wish, hope, and long to see still triumph in this world. He was able to take all the circumstances, most of which the rest of us would use as an excuse to give in to hopelessness or drive us to entitlement, and mold them into a life view that helps him overcome any obstacle. Through a strong relationship of a loving, hard-working single mom, the responsibility of being a big brother to a younger brother, and a strong faithful grip on Christ, Somiari began to make gains on all that life and circumstances had thrown against him.
As Somiari puts it, these things have given him “a good sense of the value of resources, and the importance of a good work ethic to use them.”
Finally being cleared to start athletics again, Somiari decided to give Football another shot, even though being a senior meant he would only have one year to try. He then heard me speak at his school about our program, and through much deliberation, chose to let us help him become and achieve the potential the world and his health were trying to prevent him to be.
Since then he has traversed a challenging road of injuries and setbacks that come with attempting to regain all that you loose after 3 years of a basically sedentary life trying to regain all the abilities that had laid dormant. However, he completed a successful senior year on the football team, and has continued to push himself in the offseason workouts. So much so, he still pushes himself a bit too hard and found himself in a boot with a severe twisted ankle.
It was also about this time that we had challenged him to attempt something most of us take for granted: learning to swim. So did he let the boot and a busted ankle stop him, of course not. At just under 18 years old, Somiari hobbled into the YMCA, boot and all, and signed up to learn to swim. The instructor assured him it would be just ‘like riding a bike’, to which Somiari replied, “I get what your trying to say, but I can’t say I comprehend it as I have never learned to ride a bike.” (Apparently our next task)
I am honored and humbled to say that six lessons in and he is already swimming unassisted. He is truly one the best young men I know at taking a daunting challenge and using it as fuel to help him achieve all that is put before him.
Whether it is swimming for the first time so he can be more confident when white water rafting with us later in the summer, climbing a forty foot tower in tumultuous winds on our Intro Trip, or growing in his faith with Christ all through life’s sometimes harsh treatment, Somiari shows us all what the determination of the human spirit, along with a reliance on his Creator, can do.
This merely scratches the surface of who Somiari is, what he has accomplished in his short tenure with us, and all the ways he is using these skills to better himself and his community. So please, continue to follow us and his evolving story throughout the year, and pray with me as he continues down his path that, with God’s assistance and love, will bring him down path of true joy that ‘makes all the difference’.