Marion and Will

Marion and Will

I was in San Diego over the weekend celebrating the marriage of my friends, Will and Marion. On Saturday, the day I left, I woke early and

Kadi and Sara on La Jolla Beach

Kadi and Sara on La Jolla Beach

met Kadi and Sara (friends from YWAM New Zealand) for coffee near La Jolla. Since it was the farthest west in the US Sara had ever been, we went to the beach. And since my brother, Lars lived there for years and I had visited a few times, I knew the area. We avoided parking limits by parking on a side street and walking down to the ocean. Even in January, the temps are hitting almost 80 at high noon and the warm sun felt great as we walked along. Later that same day, I made it back to the airport and flew back to Chicago. Jack (Mom’s dog) needed to be walked first thing, so I took him on the usual loop up from Mom’s house around the circle with all the fancy houses, down along the beach, and back up the staircase of neighboring Bethany Beach. As I walked, with a stiff wind in my face and temps probably around 15 degrees, I thought about the walk from the day before… what a contrast.

Lake Michigan Beach

Lake Michigan Beach

This morning, I thought about a conversation I had yesterday with my leader out in Montana. It was a phone meeting about further involvement there at the Youth With a Mission base in Lakeside. Even though I’d been working in and out of that base for the last 2 years as a student and on staff, in order to continue, I’d have to sign on for another 2 years. Coming into the conversation, I thought about the other things I love, both in and out of the mission and wanted to bargain for 1 year instead. I thought, “I can always stay longer. Why box yourself in? One is plenty.” Even just last weekend in San Diego, the training director from New Zealand asked me if I would be open to working with him in Australia on a school starting May 2015. I said I’d think about it. Signing on for 2 years in Montana meant I certainly wouldn’t be doing that… Options and choices.

I’ll have to admit, there was a little tension in the conversation between Jeremy and I.

“So, if the base was asking for 1 year, would you be negotiating for 6 months?”

“I don’t know, maybe.” I thought about my motives.

I always feel like you should counter the offer. Even now, sitting at the Toyota dealership here in Benton Harbor, Michigan waiting for Mom’s car to be serviced, I challenge these guys every time they walk in here. “You need this. You need that, “ they say.

Most if time I tell them, “No.” I feel like they’re trying to rip me off. In reality, their goals are just different than mine. They want to make money.

He threw lots of things out there. Now I trust him as a leader and that’s why I’ll work with him, so his words hold more weight than the technician at Toyota. That being said, I found one point of his rationale interesting. He talked about open and closed doors. He said, “If the door is open, you’ll use it.” Then he talked about challenging a friend who was living with his girlfriend and didn’t want to marry her. He wanted the open door. I thought about doors.

Back a few years, I was talking with my sponsor in Nashville about taking vows and swearing off things. People have a tendency to swear off booze, cigarettes, or whatever, “I’m never doing that again! From this day forward, blah blah blah….” He talked about a one-day-at-a-time strategy.

He said, “If you walk into a room and I tell you I’m closing and locking the door, and you hear bolting and double-bolting from the other side, the only thing you think about is the locked door and the fact that you can’t leave.”

Maybe it would help you to think about the door being open. You can drink anytime you want to. Just decide if you’ll stay in the room today. Then tomorrow, you can decided about tomorrow. Do this thing one day at a time. For me, that’s been a great tool and way to deal with a seemingly daunting task.

2 doors, one open, one closed; both are really geared at accomplishing the same thing, but totally different approaches. Maybe as different as the two beaches.

I think some people are reassured and find great refuge in commitment while others think of things the other way around.

Then again, no two people are alike and I doubt it’s good to use the same philosophy for every decision anyway.

Lars and I

Lars and I