Road Trips and Departures

Why are we so scared of change?

I remember reading yearbook notes that never quite sat right with me, "Please, NEVER change!" or just recently someone, meaning to encourage, wrote a card with a similar phrase in it. And the thing is, I know their intentions are entirely complimentary, very flattering in fact-

But I would think the best way to encourage one another, "to spur each other on to love and good deeds," would be to write something more along the lines of, "May you continue to change, rather, allow yourself to be changed daily." If any transformation is to take root in you and me, any refining, each day some sort of leaving must take place.

I feel like everywhere I look, there's a reminder of how we are paralyzed by the fear of moving on, away, out, beyond, forward.
A mom pouting because her college aged son is going off to work for the summer many miles away.
A high school senior scared to go too far from home for the next couple years.
A college graduate hesitant to take a job they know they were made for because it is not the safest alternative.

To steal a long quote from a favorite writer:
"And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting someting beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?
It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.
I want to repeat one word for you:
...or so my fellow adventurer Donald Miller writes in Through Painted Deserts

I think what I love so much about this quote is that he recognizes that each of our lives are only our own, only given to us once in such a way that each day is precious- each new stage of life is not merely to be some safe variation of the last.

This past year in my third grade classroom, my mentor teacher always penned a morning message to the students to kick off each day. At the bottom of each letter she would write "CARPE DIEM!" for the class to read together. So powerful, to hear kids engage early on with the idea that there is much to be enjoyed, delved into, and learned from the multiple experiences they encounter every fresh new day. And I think that's why I love teaching so much, because you can see a nearly tangible transformation taking place in the lives of kids. They amaze me with how quickly they abandon some old habit and learn a better way to do something. Half the difficulty in teaching is not transferring new information- I can dream up creative ways to do that. Rather, it's about first awakening the knowledge that there is a need to know more, to be different than one is, to venture away.

So in order to truly encourage you,
would you go out and be changed
would you be molded and shaped
would you leave your place of comfort
may you be forever different upon returning


Why write at all?

I have been passionate about writing for as long as I can remember. Most often in the form of journaling, and most recently in the urgency to write thoughts down, even if it means pulling over to the side of the road to get my thoughts onto paper. I realize that this summer, ideally, I would love to have 8 hours every day to write you each a personal handwritten note- to hear about the adventure you're finding yourself in, what is going on wherever you are in the world, and to share some of what I'm a part of- but realistically, even individual emails are difficult on a regular basis. So this is my attempt to keep up with you all throughout the course of the summer, to both share what the Lord is teaching me and hear what is on your heart as well.

I want to share what I sense He has woken me up with every morning over the past few weeks:

"Now we should live when the pulse of life is strong...
Life is a tenuous thing...
Don't wait for tomorrow.
Be here now!
Be here now!
Be here now!"

Wherever you are, whatever chapter you are currently in, my prayer is that we would find the strength to finish well. That we would never partially close off one story and begin another book without giving it all we have.

I hate unfinished projects. The traces of loose ends all over my desk even now- emails not yet responded to, gifts not adequately thanked for, relationships in limbo, unkept promises, and conversations left open-ended-

It is more than simply completing a to do list, but rather seeking excellence in all we do. I despise having stopped short on a run when I mentally determined to last a certain distance. On the flip side, one of the most refreshing feelings I know is going to bed at night, utterly exhausted, yet spent knowing that I poured out all I had to give.

Just a little encouragement, friends. I am certainly no expert on this and am convicted daily of this foreign call to live life to the fullest and pursue excellence in all I do-