I came to a point about a decade ago when I no longer had anything to lose. I had already lost everything I previously thought I had. The future was completely uncharted. I jettisoned every vestige of my life previous. I then began to carefully choose what belonged in my life and started to build a new one.
First thing that came was faith. Not the old one, based upon the approval of others. This new one was between myself and my Savior. My faith no longer in religion, but in an ongoing love relationship with God and my fellow humans that manifested itself in reality. It was love in action.
The next thing that came was family. In place of doing what others told me was the right thing to do, I went the other direction and chose a wife, a baby, and in faith all that would follow. That included another baby. Not babies now. I also got a bonus son in the bargain. I always wanted 4 kids. Now I had them. My oldest, my wife’s oldest, and over the next 5 years 2 of ours together.
I went a new direction in a career. I went to school and found for the first time that I was actually a natural at something. I went at it. I became a little bit of a celebrity. I had a ball doing it as well. I owned multiple businesses and had a large network of influence. It was exciting.
I shared it all. Seriously, why would I want to keep this stuff to myself. I shared my finances, my table, my home and my life with dozens of people who had no way of paying me back. I even made a way for others to come alongside and join me in our business. I taught and shared my secrets, not secrets. I smoothed out the path toward success for others. That was a good thing, until it wasn’t
A few years back things seemed to change. Where everything seemed to work, now things seemed to not work. It didn’t shake my faith. I just knew that I seemed to no longer be in sync with reality as it was unfolding. Betrayals, thefts, and even a couple of attempts on my life made life a little more interesting that I would have preferred, but at least they make for great stories later, right?
My wife, children, and I took a bit of a sabbatical break. It wasn’t dramatic. It was actually quite small, but the biggest break I had taken in 8 years. We left for a week, came back, and invested in looking around, listening, and feeling.
My wife and I rolled into a town we had never been in before, only heard about. It was small. Really small. It was like taking a step back at least 50 years, maybe more. We had lunch, coffee, and shopped on the main street in town. Both of our imaginations were struck by this town. Images of the town and country life dug into our hearts like a tic. We played with the idea and then we determined our path. We would move.
A new location and a new lifestyle. Of course we are still in the process, but it looks like we are going through. Each day exposes new obstacles to following. Hot on the heels of the impossible, the way though comes into view. Dramatic? No, but miraculous? Quite likely. I think we may actually pull this thing off. OK, not just us. Like I said, there seems to be some supernatural help here.
Where we are, we are motivated by faith, living in at and enjoying it. Actually, me not so much as I would like. I enjoy for a while, but I worry. I worry that I worry. Then I worry that my worry will cancel out my faith account. It doesn’t work that way, but tell that to my worry.
I am getting better at not worrying. I am watching my wife closely. My wife is loving the journey. She is looking for God’s providence everywhere, with the confidence of a child waking on Christmas morning and rushing to the tree. She just knows Father has placed wonderful gifts for us to find at just the right time. I admire her. I am trying to be more like her. It is helping me not worry so much.
I always craved fame. I craved success too. Actually what I craved was acceptance and affirmation. It was all there! I got to feel it and touch it, but didn’t much like the price tag it had on it. Over time I began to see that it was ruining our emotional budget. We almost went bankrupt in that area. My heart, my wife’s heart, and my two youngest boys hearts needed a different type of reality. We need to just be, not achieve, just be and do what is necessary. Work toward the simple goal of doing what needs to be done, not some chasing of the wind.
I still have in my heart a big vision tent. I am, mostly, removing business, fame and influence from it. I hate empty tents, so I am filling it up with love and acceptance, expressed through hospitality and faithful presence. I am filling it with faith and faithfulness. So now instead of fame and success in a business sense I want to be famous and successful at being daddy to my boys, beloved by my wife, and a positive nudge toward Christ in my community. OK, not famous, but beloved. Not because of what I accomplished, but by how much I loved.