I have returned to the desert. My time away flew by quickly as each day grew shorter and shorter. Getting on the plane, I felt as if I had just arrived. I guess all vacations throughout the world proceed in the same manner.
Leaving the Abu Dhabi airport, I was once again thankful for air conditioning. How did people live comfortably prior to this invention? Our flat was, if anything, even warmer than the outside air. I quickly switched on the air and took a short walk to remove some of the airplane kinks. I finished my walk, unpacked, took a quick shower, and it was nearly time to start returning to UAE time and get some sleep. I find it takes a week or so to really resume the time zone changes comfortably. Some people are much better than I at switching their life schedule. Over the years I find going west easier than east. The first few days just need to pass; being busy helps. Everyone has their own routine or special secret; I have tried many, but my body still needs the time to pass.
Going back to the USA was a fun and tempting experience. I loved the green plants, the rain, climbing Lake Michigan dunes, riding my bike, visiting the Illinois corn belt, and most of all having time with family and friends. Many people have asked over the years, “Why are you leaving?” Following this question, I often hear a litany of good reasons to stay and dangers in leaving. All are true. Life would be possibly safer and more predictable if I had stayed home, but….
This morning I started reading a new-to-me book by Mark Batterson, Wild Goose Chase (Mark also wrote another challenging book called In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day). As I sipped my coffee, I read and was quickly was brought back to my reality in life. I was not called to remain in my comfortable existence in western Michigan. I was called to go on a “wild goose chase.” In common thought, wild goose chases are times spent in aimless activities — but not this one. The Celtic Christians called the Holy Spirit of God An Geadh-Glas, or “The Wild Goose.” This Wild Goose is not purposeless but, rather, mysterious and untamed. We cannot get our minds around the whole picture of life and, so, feel uncomfortable.
Batterson uses the phrase “circumstantial uncertainty” to describe this uncomfortable feeling. For a person who likes to be in control and making the decisions, I find this always a difficult position. To many, comfort implies a predictability of circumstances. Often, I am really unsure what or where I will be next.
Another word for this circumstantial uncertainty is, of course, “adventure.” During an adventure we never are sure what will happen next or where a new path will lead. Some adventures will lead to great joys; some adventures will lead to great challenges. Sometimes we take small adventures, such as a new route home. Other times we accept bigger challenges. Both cause us to step out of our routines and comfort zones.
As I sat reading and thinking back, I realized just how awesome this adventure has been. Sure, life has had its struggles, and we faced many challenges. Sure, the desert does not have the beauty of the tree and grass covered dunes of Michigan, but…..
The adventure has been and is grand. Jana and I would not exchange our lives for a maybe more predictable, maybe more comfortable life we left. We heard the call of the Wild Goose to leave and join in an adventure. I witnessed the needs of the physically disabled child and knew I was called. I was to share and teach in all aspects of my life — emotional, spiritual, and physical. Jana exercised her gifts of teaching and mercy in ways far beyond a comfortable life. Our children have been permanently inscribed with life trials and joys many of their US friends missed. Facing the opportunity to fully empower our Kenyan orthopedic surgeons and Kenyan friends, we again left relative comfort for uncertainty.
Sitting in the desert has allowed me time to work and grow in different ways from what I experienced in Kenya. Am I in my times of circumstantial uncertainty? You bet!! Am I still chasing and living an adventure? Of course!! Even though I cannot see tomorrow or where we will be a year from now, I know that life is not up to me. Life is an adventure to be lived in His grip.
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Helen Keller