Am I (Vince) Ready?

Am I ready? 

Yes, very much so, but I have been hopping down a rabbit hole of perspective over the last couple of days. 

I love Rudyard Kipling's poem "IF". It is, most days, accessible in my memory. I will reference it more than a little bit as we try this big thing... I have referenced it, as we have dreamed this thing. The thing I love though is the balance he holds in the tension of all these things. Meet with the two imposters Triumph and Disaster just the same (and they are imposters.) I can get carried away with the importance of this trip, but it is also just a trip, a glorious and painful vacation. 

This vacation, this family journey, is appropriately tagged by descriptors of epic, life changing, once in a lifetime, etc. It is laced with metaphor and allegory for life. In the quest there is pain, struggle, failure, and triumph. The blisters will bring real pain. The struggle will be real and quantifiable. The application of this experience in our lives going forward as we stand facing trials will be simple.  On this trip, we will really stand atop passes and hear the song of God's creative work at deafening levels.  His fingerprints through time on display before us. The real wind piercing our skin. We will long for the morning on a cold night, and love the warm sun more than we have. In the desert, with the same level of longing, we will hope only for shade. This is going to be important... to us, and good... for us... in a very real sense. 

This is all real. 

The causes my children have chosen are amazing. The opportunity to connect their walk to something greater than themselves is profound. Because we are walking, we may just entice pennies that may otherwise have been lost in the couches of your lives into life giving things. There is a child in Lakeland today that may someday get a job from someone whose son he played soccer with at Lakeland Tropics Futbol Club.  Someone they'd never have otherwise known. Your pennies and my steps, may have been the thing that made that happen. There may be a boy or a girl waking up on a dirt floor in the valley of Los Rios that grows to great influence for good in Nicaragua because you and Henry pushed pennies in the direction of their family. It just might, and it does matter. 

BUT!

The last two nights I have woken in the wee hours with something different on my mind. Nicaragua is on fire in civil unrest.

So many of the things about this trip that I am engaging with as metaphor, they are living that metaphor in the real.

Less than 100 years ago, almost everyone on the planet would have laughed if I had called this trek an epic journey.

Nicaragua is living out an truly epic journey that started as a student protest. It has escalated. 

My friend Leandro wakes unable to get to work because of violence and blockades. He wants me to bring him here to work for my company, but I cannot help (If your company can justify bringing him, please do!).

A year ago his brother sat in my living room and teared up as he played my guitar and sang to "Nicaragua, Nicaraguita". He cried because he missed his beautiful land and family, having been separated from both for 12 years. Now he cries, for a land in turmoil, aging parents, and a brother and sister in need of help he can't offer. 

Gabby is telling the story as she can via social media, and she is scared for her safety if she continues. 

Food is rationed. The tourist and missionary tourist industries have collapsed.  

Robby and Murray have built a beautiful platform for ministry addressing poverty (on many levels) in the resource rich valley of Los Rios. They can't get home. Bethany can't get back to continue the highly successful Bible studies and ESL classes that she had begun. Melvin is manning the ship in the meantime. What does this moment mean for Willafred's (Hollywood) son Brandon, no longer a boy, and yet, not a man? 

Richard is in Este Li shepherding his people. He has begun to pursue ordination. What a role he must have in this moment with his people?

We miss our friends. We wanted to see them again. We wanted to play soccer and laugh with them. We hope that we will be able to again, this time next year.  So much will have changed. 

Dictators have come and gone and come again. If you pick up Stephen Kinzer's account of Nicaragua, "Blood of Brothers," it will remind you that this has happened before. But it will also open a window for you to a beautiful people. A beautiful land. Drop further into the rabbit hole through a book he mentions about Nicaragua by E.G. Squire. 

These friends are on a quest, in a struggle, and suffering in a way that is not just metaphorical or allegorical. This is real, and our hearts and our prayers are with them. 

I am ready for this "epic" journey of ours. I hope that it serves a great value in my families life, and prepares them to bring great value to the world throughout their lives. 

I think if I lay a little balance over this experience, I say, "What a seriously great trip! Let's take it seriously, just not too seriously."

I am ready...

Vince Strawbridge