Dear World Changer,
I was leaving downtown Dallas, and I told my homeless friend that I was driving to Colorado and wouldn’t see him for a week.
I was worried he’d think I would forget about him. I wanted to save his life and we were making progress. He’d been to my home, much to the chagrin of my neighbor across the street.
“How can you bring those people, into your home?” she said, with disdain.
“Those people are people,” I replied. “How can you not?”
Sometimes we just don’t know what we don’t know. We stay comfortable.
She had said that as a Mormon her foundational belief was that it was important to help others. Her kids brought us so much bread and rice crispy treats and cookies that I gained 9 pounds the first few months they moved in.
I suppose it was easier to walk across the street and love the neighbor. But she was appalled by the homeless.
I tried to explain to her that sometimes you’ve got to search for those who need you. Sometimes they’re in dark places that you’d never go. I invited her to serve with us one Sunday. She never went, and I didn’t push it. Each one of us is called to serve differently, depending on the season.
When I told my homeless friend, I was headed to Creede with my two little boys he seemed concerned.
“Why are you going there, sister?” he asked.
“I’m not sure,” I replied. I feel like God told me to go.”
He looked at me direct in the eyes and I could feel his heart as if it were in my own.
“Rip off the rear view mirror,” he said urgently. “Go!”
That first drive to Creede changed my life.
As we drove around the mountain and saw the peak for the first time, I wept, and it surprised both me and my two little boys. Beauty unlike anything I’d seen in the mountains of Telluride, Singapore, or Argentina. Only the train from Macchu Picchu came close.
On the highway leading into town on that first trip we had the opportunity to save a life.
A white pickup crossed the median uncontrollably as if it were without a driver. It missed us by inches, and I pulled over, jumped the fence, and chased after it into a field until it came to a stop. The old man was hunched over the steering wheel, unconscious.
I saved a life that day, in that little town, but the journey of discovering this new place saved me too. I had needed the shift in mindset. I needed to appreciate the wonder of the simplest things.
Lesson 1: Pattern interrupt
Go somewhere different. You may want to stay.
We bought a cabin there after seven years of going back. We are not an adventurous family compared to some, and yet Colorado challenged us. “Well, we didn’t die,” became our mantra one year as we survived mountain ice accidents, river rafting near death experiences, and wildfires.
We paused. Considered it again. Enjoyed beaches and other locations. Then we drive back.
Lesson 2. Connectedness comes from doing, not just talking.
A new state with foreign activities than what we were used to at home gave my boys and I a bond unlike any other. As we fished streams, (daily) ignored voicemails as there was no cell or WiFi service, learned how to clean and cook trout by the riverbank, and hike mountains.
It gave me a new perspective on life, and momentum, and how there could be an entirely new world – new people – out there waiting for you.
Lesson 3: You May have Blind spots
Most people don’t know that the missing piece of your puzzle could be somewhere else. And what if you don’t know what you don’t know? What if you don’t even know there’s a better way?
I told a friend once, “Why do you think Mr. Right lives in the city where you were born? What if he’s in Singapore or Idaho instead?”
You can find people everywhere. But if you haven’t yet found YOUR people, or your place, or even your groove, you may need to venture out.
Is it time for a move?
If you’re in a rut, or just feeling as if you or your family isn’t living your best life – pick a place on the map and go.
You may just save a life.
Just by being in the right place at the right time.
Maybe that life will be someone else’s or maybe your own.
*Proceeds from The Conversation Event benefit The Mobile Book Library for Homeless kids and families.