Monday, July 21, 2008


So here in rural Nicaragua there are some major highways that would be considered hiking paths in Chicago. I never knew a Hyundai could do half of the things that we do in them here. Like climb up a potholed 25 degree rocky slope with water running down it. There were 7 of us in the Hyundai that day. I never knew that a micro-bus could cross a river. These cars are tough little guys. I mean, they do things that a lot of people in the States wouldn't do in an SUV or pick-up truck. They take a beating and I feel a heck of a lot more comfortable in my car now that I have more of an idea of what I can do. But the cars aren't my focus today. I'm thinking about the roads.

These roads have potholes all over them. Sometimes 3-6 inch deep mud if it has rained a lot recently. I love them. I think they're the greatest thing in the world. Everyone here thinks I'm weird because these rocky, bumpy, winding, dangerous, improbable, unpredictable roads are normal for them. It's life. I love it. It's an adventure for me. I see it as an adventure always. It's something new and it's a challenge. I want to drive down them some time, but nobody wants to let me. I understand...the car is pretty valuable to them and they sure can't afford another if something happens. These roads...we can look at them in a few ways. I see two principle ways of looking at them. We can look at this dirty, rocky, dangerous pothole road as hard and difficult. As something that we would rather not pass. Something that we don't want to do because we might get hurt or something might go wrong. We can be afraid and avoid it and make someone else drive.

Or we can see it as an adventure! It's totally different and we've never done it before! Let's do it...because hey! We MIGHT get hurt, but that's ok, it'll get better. It doesn't matter, because it's an adventure. It'll be tons of fun and we might never get the chance to head down that pot hole road that doubles as a waterfall ever again!

That's how I try to view my spiritual life. We can see the difficulties as hardships designed to make us feel terrible and make our lives difficult. Or we can see adventure. Find joy in the uncertainty. It may not always be fun, but sometimes 7 hour hikes are miserable when it rains, but it's tons of fun to talk about later, and that gets us through. Today, I want you to see your spiritual walk as an adventure. See difficult times as adventure.

Thanks for reading. I have more to write for you guys. We have two projects underway and two more in progress. =) That's great news! I'll keep updating.



Trenton Ivey said...

We need to make a law - the two of us must get together AT LEAST once every year to do something crazy and possibly life threatening. I miss you a ton. If you ever happen to be in the neighborhood of Zimbabwe this year, shoot me off an email so we can get together.

Barbara Ihrke said...

Wow, love reading your thougths. Had a delightful visit with your mom and then stopped and saw Mom and Dad Elliott (your grandparents) on my way to NJ. It brought back such good memories and also saddnest.

Take care.

Barbara Ihrke

Leah said...

Hola Joel! Es bueno leer cosas de tu vida allá. Estoy celulosa de ti. A decir verdad, mi camino espiritual esta bien aburrido ahora y me gustaría pasar un rato en otro país... (para encontrar la adventura que es lo mejor! jaja).

En serio, cosas no son tan malos aquí. Tengo trabajo por parte tiempo como una fotografa (photographer? uh, no sé la palabra). Todavía tengo que encontrar otro, pero que sera sera.

Entiendo la adventura de las calles. Son las mismas en la Rep. Dom. y yo sé que mi mama no está de acuerdo contigo en este tema. jaja!

Te quiero amigo y cuidate!