The Road Ends

by Rich on May 22, 2019

Well… here we are. The end of the ride in the jeep. At least for the foreseeable future. There may be a day it returns, but maybe not.

It’s been a pretty amazing ride, as I look back on it. When I go back and read some of my stories, I am reminded of all the incredible people in my life and all the funny, sad, crazy experiences I’ve had.

A lot has changed since my first post, all those years ago. Too much to recount here, that’s for sure. But I do want to say a couple of things. So, if you will permit me…

First, a lot of these columns are downright embarrassing. It’s pretty arrogant to think you know as much as I apparently think I do. I don’t. Let me just put that out there right now. I don’t know as much as I would like others to believe. So any “advice” or “words of wisdom” you read here, please take with a Himalayan sized grain of salt.

Second, I am amazed every time I see that someone has read something I have written. That’s pretty cool. And humbling. We all have busy lives, and that you would take the 5 or 10 minutes to sit and read something that doesn’t have bells and whistles or fun graphics or sarcastic memes (mom, ask Catherine to explain those. I barely get it) is nothing short of miraculous these days, and I want to say “thanks” for that.

Most of you know where I am headed and the changes happening in my life, but some may not, and I thought it only fair to explain why this ride in my jeep is coming to an end.

Turns out that you can’t have a personal blog when you’re a seminarian.

I’ll wait for those of you who have fainted to regain consciousness…

Still waiting…

O.k., are we all back? Good. Yes, you read that correctly. I have been called and am entering the seminary in the hope of becoming a Catholic Priest. I say “hope” because God is in charge of all this, and while that is where this path is leading, I am well aware that I don’t know His mind or what He ultimately has in store for me. All I can tell you is that He is asking me to take these steps that He has laid before me, and that’s what I am trying my best to do.

I’m not going to go into all of the details on how I got here. I don’t think this is the venue. If you want to know, I’m happy to share it with you. Pretty sure you all know how to contact me, one on one.

So, I wanted to let you all know why I won’t be updating this blog for probably a number of years. And who knows if it will even stay up that long. I’m going to leave it up for a while because I know my mom likes to read it, and frankly, it’s good for me to reread some of it from time to time, just to see how much God has worked in my life.

I’m sad to see our ride come to an end. It’s been a good ride. Bumpy at times, but then the jeep is made for utility, not for comfort. And it’s probably no coincidence that part of this change in my life is that I have come to realize that, like my trusty jeep here, I have not been called to be “happy”, but to be obedient, trusting that in my obedience to Him, I will find His peace that passes all understanding. That I will have Life, and have it more abundantly. Utility accomplishes purpose. Comfort does not. And I have been created to fulfill a purpose, not to be comfortable. That’s not me patting myself on the back or pretending to have achieved some sort of higher enlightenment. That’s me confessing that I have wasted a great part of my life chasing the wrong things. And we’ve seen how well that worked out, right? Yeah…

…not so great…

Thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for your prayers in the past and those that I ask for now.

I will part with this… (one of those words of wisdom I told you to take with a grain of salt…) we are all created by God. God looked at all that he has ever created and will ever create and decided that he wanted one of you; that his creation would not be complete without you. There is so much dignity and worth in that. See that in yourself, and see it in others. Especially others who seem different or that you don’t like or agree with. Don’t let the world convince you that we all hate each other. We don’t. I promise. We disagree. We see things from vastly and sometimes disparate points of view. But we are all people with inherent human dignity. So greet a stranger. Hold open a door. Smile. Have a conversation. Create a genuine moment and let that help you create more. We are all fighting battles in this life. We are all carrying loads. Help each other with your loads. It’s hard. Especially when our own is so heavy. I fail at this miserably, but I know deep in my heart to be the true and right thing to do, and I’m guessing that in the privacy of your own heart you know it too. We all fail at it, but don’t let that stop you from trying. Keep getting back up. Keep at it. It’s worth it.

So… the ride is over, and I’m getting out of the jeep and taking a walk down a trail. I hope I see all of you along the way, and that your own trail is filled with joy and life.

Something good to eat along the way wouldn’t hurt, either. Nuts-n-Bolts, maybe?

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Whistles And Stuff: Thoughts On 2018

by Rich on December 31, 2018

My stepdad knows how to whistle. I don’t mean whistle a tune (although he can do that too), I mean curl the tongue, take a deep breath, and pierce the stratosphere with a sound that can be picked up in a different time zone. I never mastered that skill, and it’s one of those life regrets that nags at me. What a sound! It was the unmistakable call to me when I was kid, playing out in the neighborhood or straying to far from the herd on a family outing. It was his “attention getter” (is ‘getter’ a word? It is now). And it got my attention. It demanded my attention. And my response. It wasn’t enough to merely head home. He needed to know that I had heard and was on my way. Yelling, “COMING!!!” at the top of my lungs became a well practiced habit.

Whistles. Attention getters. Keep those in mind.

It’s the end of 2018 and all over social media and IRL (In Real Life, for the uninitiated), I am seeing and hearing a common theme, and it goes something like this: “Glad this year is over! 2018 was the worst! Bring on 2019, because it HAS to be better than this horrible year!” To quote James Bond, one sympathizes.

I have also had similar feelings about the past year, and then I was asked two questions. What was the best thing that happened this year, and what was the worst? After some prayerful introspection, I realized that the answer to both questions was the same thing. What that thing is isn’t important to my point, just that it was the same thing.

2018 has had it’s share of highs and lows for me, like it has for most of us, I imagine. But the more I look back, the more I realize that what seemed like heartbreaking lows, were, in fact, much deeper and filled with more meaning than mere setbacks, losses, hurts or disappointments.

They were whistles.

God has used a number of events over the last year to get my attention. Some have been louder and more shrill than others, but they have been unmistakable. I have lost dear friends. Close relationships have ended. Dreams have faded. Goals have been missed. A car blew up (seriously). And all of these things have been God using his attention-getters to extend His grace to me, though I no more deserved it than did Saul on the road to Damascus.

I am so eternally thankful for this year. I am thankful for the joys and the sadness; the successes and the failures. I am thankful because each day of 2018 has been a gift from God. It is only my lack of understanding, response and faith that leads me to be ungrateful for those days.

And here’s the thing… that doesn’t change with the flipping of a page in the calendar. It’s true today, next Thursday, or twenty years from now.

I have grown more in this last year than any single year I can remember, and that is one hundred percent due to the fact that God has extended to me His grace to hear His call, His whistle. In retrospect, I should have heard it years ago. But I’m a stubborn, selfish, ungrateful child. But now I have heard it. And I pray that I hear those whistles in the future, and that He doesn’t have to keep using His attention-getters to teach me what He wants me to know; to help me to be what He wants me to be.

2018 is the year that His whistle pierced through the noise of my life, and now I’m yelling at the top of my lungs, “COMING!!!”

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Lone Warriors

September 8, 2018

Man, it is so hard to be a parent. Under the best of circumstances, with a supportive partner, when all the planets align and the perfect hand is dealt, being a parent is just hard. I was thinking about that this week as I watched some of my friends working hard to navigate the maze […]

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Early Birds (Minus The Worms)

September 3, 2018

Six a.m. is early for most people. But the older you get, the less early 6 a.m. feels. This morning, a holiday morning, I was up at 6 a.m.. And it didn’t suck. And there are a couple of reasons for that. My day job begins at five in the morning, and, being a divorced […]

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Life Will Out… Thank God!

September 3, 2018

  “Life will out.” Maybe you first heard that while watching Jurassic Park or Grey’s Anatomy. Or maybe you’re super smart and did better than my half-assed internet research and know the true origin. And no matter where you heard it, or even if you are reading it here for the first time, you instantly […]

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Alone With My Thoughts

August 23, 2018

Perhaps it is my age, or maybe it is the particular stage of life in which I find myself, but I have been thinking a lot about the idea of being alone. Probably because I have been a lot lately. Alone, that is. Not a fun topic for most, and down right terrifying for many. […]

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Well…Here We Go…

August 15, 2018

Fifteen weeks. It’s been fifteen weeks since my last update here on A Ride In A Jeep. A lot can happen in fifteen weeks, and a lot has. But first, I’ll try to explain why it’s been so long. I love my little blog. It’s been a great outlet for me, both personally and professionally. […]

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It’s The People, Dummy

May 3, 2018

For the last few weeks, I’ve made an effort to keep things lighthearted, because, truth be told, I’ve been a bit, well, introspective. I suppose that’s the correct word. Not melancholy or sad, per se (although those emotions have stopped in from time to time, like uninvited in-laws), just…pensive. And there have been reasons for […]

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Bit By The Bug Again

April 30, 2018

While I don’t recommend it, I must admit that I learned something this past week while suffering with the flu. I don’t recommend the flu, that is. I do recommend learning things, although that whole “ignorance is bliss” thing can be pretty attractive at times, but I digress. For the better part of three days, […]

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Six Simple Rules

April 23, 2018

The NCAA recently released some new rules for college football, and while some of them appear to be beneficial and some head scratchers, none of them address some of the key areas and problems that I keep hoping will be fixed. Sure, it’s probably a good idea to not allow schools to have former stars […]

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