So…we’re totally crazy. But if you know us, you already know this.
We always have crazy ideas. Dreams, really. And sure, many of them don’t ever happen. But sometimes, some of them do…
Duane is really the dreamer in the family. Whenever he says, “Hey- I had an idea…” I always get excited to hear what is going to come out of his mouth. It happens a lot, really- these dream conversations. He was even offered a job as a dreamer to dream up vision for someone else. I don’t always love what he has to say, and too often I shoot him down, because I am much more practical, but I love that he is a dreamer.
Life has a tendency to get really boring unless you have a crazy dream come crashing in every once in a while to mess things up.
Last summer we went on a long road trip. It was three and a half weeks of awesome! We jumped in the car and headed west- lots of driving, lots of friends, lots of amazing places and lots of amazing experiences. But most of all, it was a whole lot of spending time with our most favorite people ever- each other. It was such a great time of bonding and getting to know each other in better and new ways. None of us will ever forget that trip for as long as we live! And as we raced home to get our kids to their first day of school the next day, we joked that we should just keep traveling so the awesome didn’t have to end with mundane and routines. But, we weren’t at all serious.
Then, a couple weeks later, Duane sent me an article about a family that had travelled the world for a year. (Original article from The Art of Simple) I laughed at him and forgot about it. But the next day he came home and asked what I thought about his idea and I had no clue what he was talking about. “What if we travelled the world for a year!??” He really sounded serious and really sounded excited, but I shot him down. That was something that rich Europeans do, not us. And I don’t want to be a tourist for a year. And of course, it would be impossible.
He kept saying little things about it over the next couple of weeks, which kept me shooting the idea down in my mind. But then, I had a thought. “What if we could do this in a meaningful and missional way?” And suddenly, I was excited. I told him my idea – what if we could somehow be missional about this? He said matter of factly, “Yeah, thats what I was thinking the whole time.”
That changed everything for me and we started dreaming together. Dreaming about the impact this could have on our kids’ lives, the impact it could have on OUR lives.
What if we could change our boys’ perspectives and see people in a different way? See how people really live around our world, not only the overly consumeristic and massively wealthy country we find ourselves in now. What if we could see God’s heart for His people in the world? And what if we could capture our kids’ hearts and give them a compassion and a love for people and a mission for the world?
One Sunday, while we had been pondering these crazy thoughts, I heard a talk. It was about the man in Matthew 13:44, who found a great treasure in a field. He buried the treasure back up and sold everything he had to buy that field so he could obtain its hidden treasure. Even though the speaker was referring to something else, I couldn’t help thinking about the hearts of my precious boys as that treasure. And then the he yelled out, “Sell everything and go get that treasure!!” I felt like it was a command directly to me.
One day, while volunteering to serve lunch at my son’s school, a little girl came up crying because she had put too much ketchup on her burger and wanted a different one. After she walked away, one of the moms started talking about how a poor kid in Africa would love that ketchupy burger. Another mom said, “Yeah! I’ve seen those kids…on TV.” That comment punched me in the face! I really, really don’t want my kids only experience of extreme poverty to come come from seeing hungry people on TV. I want them to actually see their faces. To learn their names. To hear their story, to cry with them and to hug their necks. I want it to be real and tangible.
It is so hard to see reality from our cozy homes and busy schedules.
We approached our kids and they are totally on board with this crazy plan. They are excited to see what’s out there. We asked them what they hoped would happen on a trip like this. Their answers definitely reflect their desires to see and experience some of the amazing adventures our world has to offer. Some of their ideas – hike Machu Picchu, have a spitting contest with a llama, eat a fresh banana, work on a coffee plantation, go spearfishing, see penguins, stay on a floating village, learn martial arts with a monk, get a jacket from an eskimo, learn to play Rugby in New Zealand, go on a zipline in Costa Rica. During one of these conversations, though, one of our kids said something that summed up our reasoning for attempting this crazy trip around the world. He said that what he hopes to get out of the trip is a change in character. That is so beautiful. That’s my hope for us all.
We have talked much about the hardships as well. We will get dirty. We will have times when we are exhausted. We will encounter people that don’t like us. We will have a lot of hard work to do in an attempt to serve others. There will be dangers. We will probably get robbed. We will get sick. There will be really scary times when we don’t know what to do. After talking with the kids about these realities and asking if they STILL want to go, Noah said something profound. “I don’t want to let fear make my decisions for me.”
Well then. That settles it. We are not going to allow fear to make our decisions for us!
There is a lot we need to see in life. A lot we need to do before this life is over. So, we are headed out to see and do some of those things… you know…before we finish.