Adventures in the Leaves
The other day, my wife Dawn and I did what many fall tourists in New Englanddo. We took a leisurely drive around Vermont and watched the chlorophylldrain out of the leaves. The reds, yellows and oranges in early October aretruly something to behold, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely: talking,laughing and oohing and aahing our way around a good section of what wecall the "Northeast Kingdom."If you flattened out all the hills and mountains, Vermont would be a fairlygood-sized state. But since it's hardly flat, it ranks down with the smallest of the fifty. Nonetheless, there are myriad back roads—roads that are easy tofind, but not always so easy to find your way out of. Now I have a fairly keensense of direction, and I almost always knew—at least roughly—where wewere. Regardless, there were a number of times that our exact location wasunknown until we emerged onto a road or scene that was more familiar. Itwas fun.It occurred to me that in life, even though it's important to a plan as to wherewe're going and equally important to have a sense of where we are, if weknow exactly where we're going, and precisely what's going to happen,there's no drama—no adventure.In our trek around the highways and bi-ways of northern Vermont, we werewilling to be a little lost because it added to the wonder of the experience. TheMISSION was clear, but the plan was flexible. In other words, "set your goalsin concrete and your plans in sand."I fear that too many people—myself included—have our lives so wellscheduled and so tightly controlled, that we forsake some of the spontaneousthings that could add more spice, adventure and enjoyment. As I look backover my life, many of the things I labeled catastrophes turned out to be theproverbial blessing in disguise. Many of the things I initially looked upon asdetours and delays added immeasurable quality to the journey.I'm reminded of the story of the man who was discouraged and prayed thatlife would be easier and that he could win in every endeavor. One day, he wasvisited by an angel and his prayers were answered. Everything he touchedturned to gold. No matter what he tried, it worked. Everything he wanted, hereceived—with no struggle and no fear of the end result. But, alas, he foundhimself miserable. Life was too predictable—like watching a taped footballgame to which you already know the outcome, it lacks excitement.In a short while, the man prayed again—this time to be relieved of his wish. Asecond time he was visited by the angel, and the man said he would rather goto hell than continue with this "curse." The angel replied, "My son, hell iswhere you've been since we were last together."We need to welcome the challenges and unknowns that come our way.