I’ve been reflecting lately on the right path for our future. Like many people, I keep hoping for that nice easy path that so clearly points in one direction. Apparently, life doesn’t work like that. Too often, it feels like I’m sitting right here trying to decide which way to go.
I look back sometimes, attempting to learn from my past, shape the future, and set new goals that might lead me down that elusive “easy” path to happiness. We are looking at moving now, and there are so many choices.
A couple decades ago, Brian and I moved into a new-to-us house in the country. I was home. “When the time comes,” I said, “bury me under the big tree in the back yard. I don’t ever want to leave this place.” But leave I did. It took me 18 years to let go of that dream. Most of those years were happy ones. We brought children home, built a farm, made friends. Then it was time to follow a new dream.
An hour away from my former dream home, I found my Shiloh, my place of peace. It was everything I could want. I was happy. Giddy even.
Then the open road and adventure called. We had the opportunity to pursue a new dream. The downsizing began, and we moved into a very small house. It was perfect, and just the right size to launch our dream of moving into an even smaller RV and traipsing across the USA. We hit the open road, and I knew then that I’d found the life I’d been dreaming of for the past 20 years. It was exhilarating.
Some days, though, it wasn’t. Change can be confusing and disorienting. On those days, I looked back and wondered where I’d gone wrong, but the feeling would pass, and I’d realize again how blessed I was to have my home traveling with me in my heart.
Ten months in North Carolina where I had my dream job and amazing new friends led to another dream: Moving overseas. The more dreams we dared to envision, the more that came true.
But dreams by themselves are empty. Achieving a goal does not guarantee happiness. (And happiness in itself isn’t much of a goal really, there is so much more. Still, it is nicer than UNhappiness). Even in the best of moments there can still be uncertainty… In the RV, crossing the US with a limitless future in our sights, it could be debilitating to try and figure out which way to go next. I know, what a problem to have.
Here we are again, facing an uncertain future. This change came upon us rather sooner than expected, so it was a shock at first. Now we’ve settled in. I look back and wonder if I should have stayed in any of those happy places. There were so many. Did I take the wrong exit when the roads looked like this?
In church this morning there was a great message. The pastor preached about Jacob (Genesis 28: 10-17 to be precise). Jacob was out….somewhere…. shortly after being blessed. That blessing was all he wanted and yet…..he was majorly stressed out. What led our family to this “wilderness” in our lives is a whole lot different than Jacob’s situation, but I can relate to that feeling of being so completely desolate….and then finding that God is in this place with me.
I am realizing that it is OK with me that I’ve been “home” so many times in so many places. There are times when I question myself and wonder if I should have stayed in any one of those happy places, but I don’t think that would have been an easier path. Change and pain and uncertainty would have come to us either way. We chose to venture out, to dream, to meet new people, and try new things. We chose to thrive and grow.
Now we are at a crossroads again. The path is not straight, the immediate future is not certain. Sometimes it takes my breath away to think about that. Looking back on that convoluted path we’ve come on, the one thing I see consistently is that in the dry times, in the lonely times, in the scary times, God was with us. This reassures me that he will stay with us.
The cool part? We have a bunch of options ahead that we did not anticipate and didn’t even think of dreaming up. The problem? ALL of them look really interesting. And promising. And wonderful. Every single one of the options we are considering and praying about require us to step outside our comfort zone in some way.
Into the unknown.
Into the future.
Here we go again.
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