Beyond the Shire

Someday I’m going to…

Fill in the blank. If you’re anything like me, I had great intentions of taking on that one thing…that one challenge that would stretch me beyond my comfort zone. Out of my Hobbit hole and beyond the Shire.

For me, a journalist by training, it was this…Someday I’m going to write a book. (If you decide to read further, I hope you do so considering your own someday.)

Many some-days passed, and thirty-five years later, there I was, on the cusp of retirement. Then, a series of events dragged me from complacency and comfort, like Frodo, toward a new, scary, adventure-filled journey. Three rescuers helped to reawaken my someday dream. The first was my beautiful wife of forty-three years.

Karen gave me a book by Bob Buford entitled “Half Time: Moving from Success to Significance.” An amazing book…read it. Buford helped me to understand that half time can come at any time, in your middle years, as the title implies, or even at retirement. Buford says it’s about “…releasing the seed of creativity and energy that is planted within us, watering and cultivating it so we may be abundantly fruitful. It involves investing our gifts in service to others—and receiving the personal joy that comes as a result of that spending.”

Okay, I thought…time to take my God-given gifts and do something extraordinary. (At least, for me.) That was my first push.

I have several men in my life like me…who first put their big toe in the water, and then dared to dive deep into their second half. That leads me to my second rescuer, a spiritual mentor, Ken Kemp, whom I’ve been privileged to know and love since I was eighteen years old. He had the audacity to co-write an important non-fiction work called “Why Not Today: Trafficking, Slavery, the Global Church . . . and You.” Another recommendation…read it. He left me in the dust and helped me to believe that my someday was now.

The third transformation came from an entire people. The people of Bunia, a city in Northeastern Congo. Best way to describe the DRC…the wild west of America in the 1870s. Karen and I co-led a group of church friends to this city, and fell in love with Africa and its people. We went to impart the gifts given to us—experiences in business and how to start a new one; skills in mentoring school teachers; helping pastors to shepherd their flocks, and more.

But the people sent me back home transformed, carrying a tremendous gift—the storyline for my first novel. Three months later I had a 90,000-word manuscript. My someday had arrived.

In 1845, John L. O’Sullivan, (1813-1895), one of America’s most widely-read editorialists and editor, made known the phrase “Manifest Destiny,” the doctrine that U.S. expansion in the American continent was justified and inevitable. His vision: “The far-reaching, boundless future will be the era of American greatness. In its magnificent domain of space and time, the nation of many nations is destined to manifest to mankind the obedience of divine principles; to establish on earth the noblest temple ever dedicated to the worship of the Most High.”

To loosely borrow the concept of expanding borders, may I ask: What’s your manifest destiny? When is your someday?

 “…that person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.”–

Psalm 1:3

 

2017-03-09T06:09:44+00:00

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