I’ve run this path so many times. The path has never changed, but I have.
I ran this path as a 22 year old who wanted to be a great pastor. I thought I was invincible and wise. Deeper down, I felt like a nobody.
I ran this path while my marriage was in shambles. I didn’t know it, but Heather has since filled me in. I couldn’t have known it - I was preoccupied making my mark.
I ran this path at 28, knowing I had “made it”. I was playing for thousands and I was sure things were about to break wide open.
I ran this path as a leader. As a mentor. As an authority. As a winner. Deeper down, I still felt like a nobody.
I ran this path as a new father who was learning the value of sleep.
I ran this path at 32 praying to God, “Let the Current take me wherever it wants. Help me to let go.”
I ran this path realizing I’d failed my wife.
I ran this path realizing I’d failed my kids, already.
I ran this path realizing how driven by Fear, and afraid of quiet and rest I really was.
I ran this path in major turmoil at work, exhaustion with my band, and disconnection from my family.
I ran this path realizing I didn’t want to be a worship pastor anymore.
I ran this path realizing I didn’t want to lead worship at conferences anymore.
I ran this path, longing for quiet. For Trust. For Rest.
I ran this path at 33, no longer a worship pastor. No longer a worship leader. No longer able to make sound with my voice. I let go of my plans on this road.
On this road lie my plans.
I ran in silence. I ran in quiet.
I ran this path at 34, listening to a book about worry.
I ran a little slower. I was tired of running.
I ran this path, listing my worries, mouthing the words “I choose to trust - to trust God, to trust myself, to trust the process” and literally throwing my hands behind me, symbolizing my leaving the worries behind me, on this road, daily throwing the same worries behind me.
On this road lie my worries.
I ran this path knowing I was going to experience the death of my daughter.
I ran this path wondering what I’d say at her funeral.
I ran this path knowing I was afraid to name her.
I ran this path as Olivia’s father.
I ran this path realizing we were now the parents of a severely disabled child, maybe forever.
I ran this path at 35, realizing my life was now this little girl and our immediate family, and nothing else.
On this road lie my dreams.
I ran this path crying to God for relief, for help, for hope, for a single night of sleep.
I ran this path the morning after Olivia died. The air was crisp. The path seemed inviting. The running felt different. Less about running from something or to something. It was just running.
I ran this path missing Olivia, unable to see through the tears; having to stop, breathe, write down my thoughts, and start again.
Today I run this path again. I run past my plans and my worries. I run past my dreams. I run past my tears. I run in the footsteps of a thousand other me’s. But none of them are me.
It’s the same road. It’s a 1 mile stretch in a dumpy neighborhood. It seems like “how could this path ever take you anywhere?” But it does take you there. It’s not about the path. It’s about what happens in you as you travel that brings you to where you’re going. The externals are only a path for you to use while you do the real work inside. You’re becoming who you are - that’s where you’re going.
The path has never changed, but I have.
Today I run this path confused. Heartbroken. Determined. Exhausted. Empty. But alive. This is who I am today.