Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Expanding Possibilities

We have come it it at last, only a few more days until I begin my new position with NPS at Manasssas National Battlefield. It continues to be exciting to look ahead to what these next few years will hold, but I have also been doing a lot of thinking about how much has changed and how many different opportunities I have had in the past few years.

~Six years ago I was entering into my final semester at Point Loma thinking that I would be starting at Regent College in Vancouver, BC the next Fall.

~Five years ago I working with the youth of the Oroville Church of the Nazarene in CA after moving to the area to work in the tree business with two dear friends from college. I had just returned to Oroville from a trip to Regent in Vancouver with my Dad, still thinking that is where I would end up in the next few years. As it turned out, later that year I was offered a full tuition scholarship to Regent right as I was involved in the opening of the Axiom Youth Center in Oroville, and I chose to stay in Oroville.

~Four years ago I had just ceased working with the youth in Oroville after helping to open the Axiom in the downtown area and was at home in Phoenix about to embark an a journey across the Grand Canyon.

~Three years ago I was working at a bookkeeper in a Locksmith shop while applying for positions all over the country in all sorts of different areas (including but not limited to being a white water rafting guide, a wildland firefighter for several different agencies, helping run large scale Christian camps in CA, being an RD or working in International Ministries at Point Loma, and being a Park Ranger). Little did I know that in another month I would, for the first time, be offered a position with the Park Service and would quit my job and move out to South Dakota for what was only guaranteed to be a three month position at Wind Cave National Park.

~Two years ago I was preparing for the National Cherry Blossom Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Five weeks later I would meet Alison.

~Last year I had been engaged for three weeks and was a week away from going to CA to look at potential wedding sites with Alison and her Mom. I was also a couple weeks away from starting out at Shenandoah National Park.

Every year for the past six years has seen me in a remarkably different position, with a distinct vision of what the future might hold. I certainly did not know that I would now be married, studying American history in graduate school in Virginia, and about to start working for the Park Service on interpreting the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

It is truly amazing to look back and see where God has brought me over these past six years. It has been a journey, but I would not be where I am today without each chapter in the story falling into place when it did.

When I left Point Loma I thought I was going to go learn about theology in Canada. Instead I am about to start my fourth position with the National Park Service and am learning about history in Virginia.

In the past three years I have been in every state in the Union except for six (Alaska, Washington, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine) and I was in Washington in February, 2007. Our hope is to visit the four upper New England states I am missing in the early fall sometime in the next few years since they are within driving distance. That will leave only Alaska before I can claim all 50 of the United States. Four years ago I had been in about 12 of the states.

Life changes quickly. Opportunities arise and we have to choose how we will respond to them. We rarely know as much about out future as we think we do, and we would do well to remember that it could change at any time. For me, life has changed dramatically, but I wouldn't go back and change a bit of it. Each experience has contributed invaluably to shaping me into the man I am and in leading me into the frontier of  discovery. It has been and will continue to be a life willed with dangerous wonder.

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