The long and winding road

The long and winding road

One of the great things about going through uncertain times is that friends and family surround you with love and encouragement. Just yesterday, my good friend Bruce sent me this message;

“Many people get to walk a straight trail from college to retirement. It may have a few ups and downs but mostly it’s a flat trail. Your trail is so UNLIKE that. Your trail has a context and texture built especially for you. You get to see things other people never get to see. When you get down the trail a bit and start to see the new views the Lord has for you and Lainey–you are going to be so grateful and amazed at the Lord’s love for you both.”

I believe Bruce is exactly right. For the first 20 years of my career I was at Shepherd’s Fold Ranch, the camp my parents founded. It was home to me and for the most part, I loved it. I grew up there. I got married and raised my kids (mostly) there.

But I did have a gnawing within me; a restlessness that tickled the back of my brain. I wanted something more. Or at least something else. I watched my friends and family go and do while I was “stuck” in Avant, Oklahoma. I developed a kinship with George Bailey; stuck in Bedford Falls, NY at the “old building and loan.”

But in 2000, the Lord moved us on and our journey changed. The road suddenly went from straight to winding, from flat to steep. Since that time we’ve moved three different times and have lived in three different states. And every single time one door closed before the next one opened. We stepped into the dark and inky void. Have you ever been there? I wish I could say that it was something I got used to but alas, no. I’m not used to it (present tense).

As of last week, there has been another bend in the road; another change in the journey and once again I find myself getting very still and bending my ear hard in order to hear the still small voice.

I’ve decided to write about this process. I want to write about this journey we’re on. Not because I need to rant or blame or feel the need to throw past employers under the bus. On the contrary. My life is controlled; my steps are ordered by a much higher power. My past employers have been a blessing. Without them I wouldn’t have learned what I needed to learn in order to be here today.

I want to write about this process because I believe there are lots of folks just like me who find themselves, not on the straight road, but on the long and winding road. How do you handle it? How do you find peace between the sheer exhilaration that comes with the new adventure and the paralyzing fear that comes from not knowing what tomorrow holds?

Well, I don’t have a lot of answers but I can promise you this…good or bad or ugly I will share my journey with you. If you are in a time of transition, I know you’ll be encouraged. If you’re not in transition (just wait); feel free to share the link to this site with others who need to know they are not alone. There are others, many others on this journey with them. We’ll find the way together.

The wind and the waves batter the tiny ship. The gusts of wind have come so often and from so many confusing angles you have no idea if you’re even heading in the right direction anymore. There is no horizon. There is no sky. Only angry ocean on all sides. Desperate for some point of reference you look up and clear the rain and your own wind-blown hair out of your face and you see him, your Captain. He’s standing in the bow of the ship with his eyes locked forward. He’s in command. He’s unmoved, unshaken. The storm continues to rage but immediately the noise and confusion of fear in your head fades away. You are overwhelmed with peace.

You are not alone. The Captain sails with you. He knows the way.


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  • Michael, I shared the note Bruce wrote you with Kristine just now as we both enjoyed our early morning with God. As a couple our life has been anything but flat. Our journey has been filled with heartache, illness, persecution, financial devestation as well as adventure, exhilaration, risk and success. But all of it, as we reflected on your words and the truth in what Bruce shared, has shaped us as a couple, family and individuals. We would not choose a different path. Thank you so much for sharing this journey. I’m excited. I have already been hooked, just like the chapters of a good book. I’ll be here for the rest.

    • Thanks John! A friend shared a G.K. Chesterton quote with me this morning, “An adventure is, by its nature, a thing that comes to us. It is a thing that chooses us, not a thing we choose.” While a road is a pretty good metaphor for the journey, I’ve always liked the river. A river has a current and you feel pulled downstream. In a way, that’s the way I feel now. I’m compelled forward toward the horizon pulled along to destinations unknown. The great adventure indeed!


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