On the Road That Leads to the Next Country and To Fresh Perspective

In traveling with my wife Jan for the past 3 months, I have been able to read some insightful books, have some profound conversations (with people from all over the world) and experience some life altering events. I hope this can be a place where I am able to process a few things and have some conversation/dialog with others that may be willing to wrestle with some of the same realities that I find myself in. That being said, I am a bit of a skeptical “blogger” as I have seen many that seem to be nothing more than a cyber platform for self approval… please keep me accountable to avoid that.

This is the first time I have ever, not only been oversees, but been removed from work, school, buddies, family, etc…for an extended amount of time. It has been quite an adjustment, but very insightful at the same time. To wake up in the morning and know that all that is required of me is to love my wife and check out the world is an incredibly freeing feeling. A mindset that has been FAR from reality in our first few years of marriage. Although I must admit that I have been very unhealthy in my inability to embrace this mentality and it has taken much accountability from Jan to allow me to begin to release the anxiety, stress and speed of the life that I was living. Now, having been in that mindset for a few months, it is not hard to identify some of the toxic patterns and rhythms that I have been living in back at home. At the same time, I don’t intend on returning home (I can’t help but think of the good intentioned first year college student who comes home for the summer and is ready to change the world, but has no idea where to start) and turning everyone’s TV’s into flower boxes, while chanting “hand me a hammer, because I have all of life nailed!” Interesting tension to live in…one that knows change is needed, but also knows that change must come about out of a spirit of humility, a sensitivity to the well being of others and to that of the Spirit. In fact, it is a tension that reminds me of the prophet Jeremiah who was so aware of the changes that needed to be made by the people of Israel, but was forced to get exceedingly creative in how to articulate that message to the people. A book that I recently finished called Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggeman gives some great commentary on that tension…worth the time of another post at some point.

Over the past 3 months I have had extended conversations with a WIDE variety of folks. We lived next to a 54 year old Canadian gentleman for a month in Costa Rica and we would play cribbage most every morning and evening. We would share a good laugh, talk American politics(not an area I am too well versed), process the death of his wife just 3 years earlier and even got to teach him to surf. I connected with a guy on our cruise ship who was in his late 20’s and had just been kidnapped(and now released) in Brazil a few months ago while shooting a documentary. He was now traveling with his girlfriend with a whole new perspective on life, which led to some great conversation and shared experience. Jan and I shared a train cabin with an elderly Italian couple and two young Italian men. We heard their perspectives on “the U.S.” Presidential campaigns(which everyone follows closely in Europe because we tend to have a HUGE impact on global conflict), learned a few Italian words and Jan even gave the older woman a back and neck massage because she was in terrible pain…it was beautiful! That led to an extended conversation with a Colonel in the U.S. Army who is stationed in Stockholm, who offered a very objective look at the foreign perception of the U.S. and their military endeavors. And the list goes on and on and on…

I am really grateful for these people, experiences and conversations. I suppose it is now my responsibility to wade through so much of what I have taken in and begin to discern how that may affect so much of what I have viewed as “normal” back home. Again, my greatest challenge is to move forward out of a spirit of humility, love for those around me and a sensitivity to the leading of the Spirit…We will see how it goes!

Picture: My buddy Brian and me in Costa Rica and Jan and I at the Colosseum in Rome

2 Responses to On the Road That Leads to the Next Country and To Fresh Perspective
  1. the hadzic clan

    it is both refreshing and encouraging that someone is able to break free from the chains of society and experience a total mind, body and spiritual awakening. i wish you luck in your travels and may peace find you wherever you may roam.

  2. tom

    wow jeeeeooooooonnnnnnn, your blogging is really giving me a fresh perspective on roads and countries and, heck, life…