Getting Off The Road
Imagine that sobering moment when you snap back to reality and realize that the vehicle you’re driving has traveled dozens of miles down the highway while you’ve been lost somewhere in your own mind, completely unengaged and disconnected from the road. You wonder for a moment, “How long have I been out of it? How far have I traveled?” It’s an unsettling feeling.
In a similar way, I’ve experienced a few times in my life when I have suddenly realized that dozens of months or even a handful of years have gone by since I have given any real attention to the road I’m traveling and where I’m headed. It’s as though I had checked out and began drifting down the road I was on with no clear intention, in some cases with the accelerator completely floored as though I was in a hurry.
This has been the case in recent months. I awoke to find myself tearing down the road in front of me with no real sense of where I was going or why. As I began to gather myself and reflect on my situation, I came to a simple but clear understanding that my direction and destination where entirely up to me. It’s my responsibility to evaluate and determine where I want to go and how I’m going to get there. If I find myself drifting aimlessly, it was my own choices that lead me there whether I had acknowledged that choice or not.
My first reaction to this realization was a desire to slam on the brakes or whip the steering wheel and head off-road as soon as possible. However, I’ve determined that the better plan, especially considering the impact to the family members traveling with me, is to slow down and look for the next exit where I can safely pull off the highway. My plan is to look to the One who created me, seek the wisdom of others, determine where I’m going, and intentionally chart a new course that will guide the rest of my journey. I hope to find a renewed sense of purpose that will become the focus of my energy, my passion and my resources moving forward. I am capable of driving hard and fast, but it simply doesn’t make sense to do so if I don’t know where I’m going or why.
In more practical terms, I’ve spent the last two years working for the organization that purchased the company I started with a couple of close friends several years ago. I’ve decided to ask that organization to allow me to take a 3-month sabbatical to travel with my family, ask questions and seek a renewed sense of purpose for my life.
I’m refusing to drift… to live my life with no real sense of direction or purpose. Fortunately, my request has been granted. I am blessed and grateful to work for an organization that values me and understands where I’m coming from.
In a little more than a week’s time, my wife and I will put our beautiful dream home on the market, board a plane for Central and South America with our children and begin contemplating together what the rest of our story will look like. We plan to spend about a month in Costa Rica before heading down to Ecuador where we will stay in an orphanage, visit the Ecuadorian countryside, and finally spend a week in some of the poorest corners of the country visiting a Child Development Center started by Compassion International and spending some time with the child we support in that area.
During our time traveling as a family we will focus on strengthening our connectedness as a family, understanding who we are, and contemplating how we can leverage who we are and what we have been given to maximize our impact on the world around us. We simply want to align our hearts and our actions with what we believe we were created to do.
I’m writing this first blog post to invite you to join us on this break from the path. In my blog, I plan to write a bit about what we encounter, the questions we ask ourselves and the answers we find. I want to encourage you to follow along with us, engage yourself and your family in similar questions and share your thoughts, comments and questions with us along the way. Also, feel free to share with anyone you think might be encouraged or even entertained. I can’t wait to see what we’ll learn and what we’ll find, and I’d love to have you along for the ride.