Sabbatical. It does roll off the tongue a bit funny. Though it is a funny word, it means a lot to me. At Lifepoint Church, even though we work very hard, we play very hard, and we talk a lot about Sabbath rest among the staff and even through volunteer ranks. We want that for our people. We strive for it. We may not be perfect in achieving Sabbath rest. But it is built into the need of every human body as God designed it, and we choose to obey him, and ask for forgiveness when we slip. As I have told people about what I am about to embark upon, I have had many different responses. Many are bug-eyed at the idea, most likely horrified at the thought of traveling so long. Many are perplexed that I would have a job that would allow such nonsensical rest. And many are excited. My guess is it is something they either did as a child, or have always dreamed of doing. My reaction has been one of gratitude. I am grateful for a Pastor that would invest in me in such a way. I am grateful for a church that loves its leaders. I am grateful for amazing staff and volunteers that even make the idea possible. And I’m grateful for a wife that would even agree to such a crazy idea. Many have asked if I am excited. I say, “as excited as I would be jumping out of a perfectly good airplane with a parachute.” That simply means, yes I’m a mix of excited and scared. I would say the excitement was more in the planning than in the days leading up to today. But leading into this trip, in recent days, I have begin to think a lot about a lot of things. First, will I be able to turn off my mind. The church has done what it can to help me with that. I have a new phone number and I have a new email address. Will I call back and see how things are going. Yes. Lifepoint is in my blood. But the daily engrossment that I’m accustomed to, the running into people out in public, the late phone calls, the early mornings, the genuine concern for all things Lifepoint – what will it look like to lay that down for a time? Will I be able to? Will I go through withdrawals? Second, who will I be at the end of this venture? Six weeks is a long time. It is longer now than it seemed a year ago when I was planning. A one-month sabbatical with two weeks of vacation tacked on is the same length of time I was graded on in school. Six week grade periods. A lot can happen in six weeks. What will God teach me? What will I see? Will I think differently from what I experience? Third, all of the details are a little overwhelming. I am towing a fifth wheel. There is a lot of things in that camper to keep up with. The truck has to stay in good shape. The route is complicated. There are tons of things to do at each stop. But, I find solace in taking it one day at a time. There are a couple of things I have vowed to do. One is not get worked up over things. Things can go wrong. I can’t let that throw me or my family off. But I am happy to say I passed my first test. We had a bulge in one of our tires on the camper before I even left town. No big deal. Kept my cool and had it fixed in under an hour. Two, I want to soak it all in. I believe whole-heartedly that you don’t get a full view of God until you get a full view of His creation. We are his handy-work. But he also created this earth for us to live in and enjoy. And I plan on doing it. Third, connect with my family. Jennifer, Wyatt, Weston, and I are very close. We eat dinner together every night. We pray together every night. We love being together. I’m not naive enough to think those boys will always want to hang around me. But for the next six weeks they will! And they will get to do it without me looking at my phone or checking the internet. They get me uninterrupted. The Details So what in the world am I doing? Crazy stuff. Like driving 6800 miles across country with my wife and two boys, ages six and eight. I will either want to sell my camper when I get back or never get rid of it. I have learned some funny things about fifth-wheels. They first grab attention. I have so many people craning their heads watching it go by in town. Its a beast. One guy was giving me thumbs up in approval. They don’t maneuver well through parking lots. Curbs are the bane of fifth-wheels. They weigh a lot and thus require a lot of diesel. They take a bit of setting up and tearing down. They also have their own ‘wave.’ If harley riders acknowledge each other in passing, so do fifth-wheelers. Now to the order….
- Badlands, SD. Just a drive-by. Going to hit the loop on the way to the Black Hills of SD.
- Mount Rushmore. Not even a National Park, but going to be great. It is what Wyatt wants to see most.
- Yellowstone. Weston is a little concerned this is a supervolcano.
- Grand Tetons. Just a drive-by again. But I had to wave to the Tetons
- Sequoia/Kings Canyon. This was my one non-negotiable. I wanted to see the big trees. And I cannot wait.
- Grand Canyon. Jennifer wants to make sure they don’t fall off the edge. We’ll also be riding a train on this stop.
- Zion. For some crazy reason I was thinking we’d be hiking Angels Landing. Youtube that and see what you think about those possibilities.
- Bryce Canyon. Going to ride some mules! Also has some amazing stargazing.
- Moab. Here we’ll hit Arches and Canyonlands. The most exciting thing about this stop is a 4×4 trip we have planned.
- Dinosaur, CO. Just a pit-stop on the way to the next destination.
- Rocky Mount. Last stop till the long drive home.
Stop 1 – June 5, 2016 Made it to Bedford, PA and Friendship Village Campground. I am so glad I chose to go up 29 and 522 through Winchester. It was a beautiful drive. The short bit through West Virginia was gorgeous. Still, I hate the PA turnpike. Glad we won’t be on it long tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a bear. We will be driving between 8-10 hours (before stopping for fuel and food). Needless to say prayers would be great!