So sometimes I make the mistake of not posting a blog because it seems like nothing too exciting is really happening in my life…I guess. In times past I’ve thought about this and about how unfair it is to everyone else because it gives a skewed view of what life is like. So this is my attempt to even things out a bit.
I got back home from Spain to Nashville about two weeks ago. It’s never easy coming home (I think I can still call it home). After all, I’ve only spent about 3 months here since I graduated college in 2010 and only a few more total in the States so the word “home” is becoming a bit more relative.
It is strange how the questions have changed upon returning home. After the World Race it was, “How was your trip?” or “Where all did you go this last year?” and after the next year I spent away they changed to “Where are you going next?” or even “What are you planning on doing with your life?” (that’s a fun one).
This time coming home I’ve experienced a different question, “So, what is the next adventure?”. It’s strange the number of people who have asked me this and I’ll have to admit this puts some mixed emotions in my heart. It’s like I moved from being a traveler, to a crazy person, to a nomad, all end up as an adventurer! I wouldn’t say I’ve made it, actually I’m not sure what it means to have “made it”, but I’m pretty proud of where I am now!
It seems that whenever I explain what I am doing with my life to someone, their answer is something like, “Wow, it must be great to have such an exciting life!” Little do they know, in my mind I’m thinking, “Wow, it must be great to have a salary, and a house, and a nice quiet neighborhood to live in, what a great life!” Now, I’m not saying I definitely want that life but if we were all honest we’d probably admit the grass is sometimes a little greener on the other side! We would also have to admit that most of our lives are the way they are because we have chosen them to be that way at some point.
I feel like it is only fair to write a bit from the other side of things so I want to be a little vulnerable about what it means to live a life of “adventure” for a bit. The reality is after 3 years I’ve come to find that there is a downside to my lifestyle…not a bad side…just downside…just different. Let me explain through some realities that I’ve experienced all for the sake of being an adventurer…
The reality is most times I leave a place goodbyes get easier because my expectations of meaningful relationships get lower…
The reality is when I come home the welcome parties dwindle, the hugs get shorter, and home seems less fitting than it once was…
The reality is I no longer have the luxury to invest in all the lives that have invested in mine over time, I actually have to choose, I have to be selective…
The reality is I’ve missed weddings, births, and parts of my good friends lives that I never should have missed…
The reality is that most of my time is spent with people who have a hard time understanding me because they haven’t known me for that long…
All the while, the reality is that the people who have known me the longest have a hard time understanding me because I change so much while I’m gone…
I have found that a transient community isn’t true community, a Facebook friendship isn’t true friendship, being a tourist in a culture isn’t a true experience, and love that doesn’t invest isn’t true love.
Now, I say this not to be negative or to create any sympathy for the life I live, and I’m not saying these are all honorable or justifiable, I have just seen these things not only in my life but in the lives of others and some things need to be said. Because the truth is life in the Kingdom of God is adventurous regardless of where you are or what lifestyle you choose and every lifestyle has different ups, downs, sacrifices, and benefits. In fact, something that really hurts my heart is when other people see my life as a “missionary” as more holy, more Godly, or more praise worthy than theirs. This couldn’t be farther from the truth and I’m excited because I’m seeing these lines start to blur in my generation!
Adventure really all comes down to a choice anyways. Right now I’m back in the States until late July working on my visa to get back to Spain, making some money, fundraising and attempting to plan out my life. The fact is that most days are pretty normal and non blog-worthy, but I think that’s why I need to blog. Right now my “adventurous” life has comprised of cutting the grass, searching for a minimum wage job, doing visa paperwork, and checking my email…a lot. It’s funny when things slow down in life and it’s always a blessing when God allows you step back and see what you are actually doing.
The reason this is part 1 is because I want to share more about my vision and how I’m beginning to reap the harvest of being an adventurer and some things that I am beginning to build because of how I’ve lived, but I felt it was important to write about this first. So of course be on the look out for Part 2…the upside…or non downside…or upside-down side of adventure… not sure what is appropriate yet!
Thanks for being so honest and raw here. I really appreciate it. It definitely annoys me too when people ask what my next plans are. Maybe cause I’m struggling to stay in the moment, or maybe because it highlights my personal insecurity of being clueless in my own future.
Thanks for being bold and vulnerable. Hope we can cross paths, soon!
Great blog brother! It definitely resonates with me. I’ve been having those same thoughts about community. I’m planning to make some pretty big decisions about the direction of my life pretty soon. Miss you bro and our lakehouse golf tournaments.
Always praying for you my friend. I look forward to hearing more about what God is doing in your life & how Nick & I can be a part of that. Please let us know as you need things. We don’t have much, but what we have is the LORD’s. We would love to have you visit if the opportunity permits. Love you brother.
Always praying for you. We look forward to seeing what the LORD does & how He leads the life He’s given you. Thanks for letting us be a part of it. 🙂 As always, please let us know as you need things. Nick & I don’t have much, but what we have is the LORD’s to begin with & we would love to share with you as you have needs. We would also love for you to come visit if the opportunity allows. For now, know that you are being presented in prayer to our sweet Jesus & we all know that with Jesus is the best place to be because even when nobody else understand us…He does. Love you brother.
Alan! I miss you buddy. I enjoyed reading your update, hope you find some sweet odd jobs for a couple months, and hope to see you soon! Tell me that I’ll see you on June 8th!
Remember when we sat in that booth at Denny’s and talked about life after squad leading and what that might mean for us?
I wanted to travel Europe, be an au pair, a nomad…yet I also wanted the consistency of community. A few days after our conversation God made it clear that he was calling me back to Gainesville. I was thrilled and saddened at the same time.
I’ve been here for almost a year now and sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if I did take off after squad leading with nothing but the clothes on my back and the passion in my heart.
But then I look around me and I see one of my best friends, Talia. I was there when she was found out she was pregnant, I was there hours after she gave birth. And I was there all the moments in between.
I’ve been here for birthdays and rainy Sundays, frisbee Fridays and Downton Abby marathons. I’ve shared fears and tears and uncontrollable laughter with the same people, my community.
My heart is still torn between the desire to explore and the desire for deep, real, raw relationships – but when I look at the faces around me I know I made a good choice.
I’m glad to hear your honest thoughts about life after squad leading – seems like you and I have both had adventures… though they may look a little different 🙂
When you get here we should go to Denny’s and swap stories…
On and you’re welcome for this novel I just wrote.
Great post man. Check in whenever you get bored of checking emails… stay strong. Stay connected.
Wow, I just landed on this blog through funny connections – but you´re actually writing something that I´ve tried to express a lot in the past. This is one of my attempts: http://lifeandtheredbench.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/a-space-walk/
I´ve been travelling a lot as a missionary as well and it´s crazy how much my heart resounds with what you just wrote.
Thank you and I´m looking forward to part 2. Where in Spain are you located? I´m stationed in Germany right now…
Thanks Jeannette, I’m usually in Malaga, Spain. Right now I’m in the States but should be back as early as the end of July!
Dude! So good! Perfect blog and description for sure… Experiencing a lot of the loss of excitement for this new trip for sure