And gravity wants to bring me down
Oh I’ll never know what makes this man
With all the love that his heart can stand
Dream of way to throw it all away
Oh, twice as much ain’t twice as good
And can’t sustain like one half could
It’s wanting more that’s gonna send me to my knees
Whoa Gravity stay the hell away from me.
Whoa, Gravity has taken better men than me
Now how can that be?
Just keep me where the light is…
Come on keep me where the light is.
John Mayer “This is the most important song I’ve ever written, it's a time capsule song. I will listen to it every day of my life if I need to. It's honest to God the most important song I’ve ever written in my life…..” ..though a musician, my full-time job is not screwing up….”
The day leaving Washington, PA, heading to Washington, D.C, started as most ‘gypsies’- eating breakfast, packing, route planning, making sure the tires are still attached, oil exists in the engine and THEN convincing your wife she will be a o.k. leaving the van hooked to the RV while heading over the Appalachians. Can you say GRAVITY. Hahah breathe
Tiff has been fairly freaked out for this inevitability, for some reason. Actually I know the reason, it’s not the machine, it’s the man behind it. Tend to be a very offensive driver which is completely opposite from her approach. Whenever this guy is driving you can count on her grabbing the support handle thingy above her head no less that 1 time every 30 seconds and voicing numerous instructions. Again I have to laugh but here are some..ever heard any of these before guys?
“You’re too close to those cars, you’re making me sick, slow down!...cars ahead have their brakes on and your speeding up! ….we have precious cargo aboard!. You make me nervous driving…hands are sweating..” lol.
So yes I get it, understand, feel for her and get why she’s probably been a bit consumed by fear heading up and down 5% and 6% grades to get to our D.C. destination..with an offensive driver. Smiling and chuckling about this actually. She’s a fairly good driver…. but . lol, so the hell am I darn it. Funny.
Well It was during this particular point in the journey where once again was listening to Pandora, while the rest of the world in the coach is doing their thing, and when GRAVITY comes on.
First had a chuckle when it did considering uh the gravity of the day. let alone the gravity on a 14 ton rig pointed down hill. (By the way I did convince Tiff to keep the van attached to the RV..In fact I believe she even found some time to nap after getting more comfortable and realizing we might just arrive safely).
The song continued to sit on me the remainder of the day and honestly ever since the moment heading through the appalachians. Finding these words to have incredible relevance to all which has been happening over the past 6 weeks. every turn it seems gravity is trying to pull me back to the way things use to be at home; predictable, comfortable, consistent, changeless, recognizable patterns, similar sights, sounds, smells and spaces. doing all I can, in the words of John Mayer, not to screw this trip up or better yet give up on it. Avoid accepting the status quo and head home. Or worse Mess my kids up, make a mess of work/career, hurt the relationship between Tiff and I ….or or or.
So what’s been on my mind for the past 4 weeks? Well GRAVITY!I ...fear of it.
and unfortunately not on it was staying disciplined to blog activities. Focus has been spent thinking about surviving and not necessarily writing about it.
Over the past 6 weeks, there has a been a broken closet mirror, cabinet, Iphone 6, Ipad Air, 12v lighting, dent on the roof of a rental car they (enterprise) tried to blame me for. Then there's the traffic in DC, Southern Maryland, Northern Virginia (crazy traffic), constant logistical planning for both work appointments but also the RV and making sure you pick a path which doesn't run you into a low bridge, helping you remove the roof. Wouldn't be good.
One of these appointments included a four and half-hour drive (one-way) and in one day no less. Then a bad hair-cut (from some place called the Mad Hattery or Hair cuttery lol)….. not horrible considering much of my hair is gone so why complain? and then to boot a severely sprained ankle and thus new crutches to add to our “stuff” (one’s I refuse to use...)
In the words of George Costanza..”Serenity Now!” Good grief “what are we doing?” is a constant theme. If you think this is a bunch of whining, you would be correct, if you said “this is what you said YES to” you would also be right. If you said “maybe you should just go home…back to its safety, it’s predictability, and where the pull of gravity seems much less?" I would be exceptionally tempted..at times..
and Then one of these trying days, touched on briefly above,
I start to mingle in a different thought. A new perspective.
A thought about the pull of home and all which comes with
such an alternative. And guess what the conclusion was…
...very little difference exists between then and now. Still existing is the travel, the potential for broken “stuff”, bad hair cuts, and even the chance for sprained ankles. House repairs, back and forth between kids activities, collecting more stuff, remodeling this that and the other, keeping up with the joneses. Yes the list goes on and on....sure different but also the same.
What changed the thought?
Well a Long trip from college park, MD (our campsite) to Durham, NC. The trip was essentially 9 hours in one day. 9 hours mostly spent in a car and another lunch at.. good ol'Subway. Typical order - 12 inch tuna on Italian, toasted, pepper jack cheese, red onion, banana peppers, jalapenos, pickles, 2 tomatoes and if they have it....BBG sauce! Yup BBQ. But its not done yet...request to have it cut it in half, wrapped separately, eat half as the other half comes home to hear the kids say! "Subway again Dad?!". And they laugh. it's kinda cute
So Why do I do it? Why make the decision for this day trip? Well Because this is my portion of the adventure right? my responsibility, my cross I guess you would say. And the need exists to take advantage of it and just do it. A great chance to meet potential clients, within their time frame and not mine, which was traditionally the case when scheduling travel from KC. Time was limited by air travel, hotel stays, and purely just limited opportunities because of the desire to be back home sooner than later and why the want to keep travel time short. Air Travel that is. The family was always on my mind but in a sad a distracting way sort of speaking. Constantly thinking about them and knowing I would not be coming home for a couple of nights. the feelings would tend to knock me a little out of focus and why maybe not always on my A game.
These responsibilities, challenges, were weighing exceptionally hard this particular day heading south to Durham. traditionally during such trips the radio is rarely on...just too much noise honestly. But for some reason it was turned on and not FM in this instance. what was chosen was AM. I guess you could say it was Some "thoughtful" listening to be certain. uh a little of the "Good News". tough to say this this is exceptionally rare for this guy..but again the radio is hardly ever on regardless of programming. Well whatever, i did and it was and The message being spoken about was on "works" and specifically Proverbs 14:23. Basically whatever you are doing, the good, the bad, the indifferent, horrible jobs, etc. you should give it all to the glory of God.
Hearing the story line changed my thought pattern little by little over the course of the rest of the trip, And quite honestly ever since. What remembering this passage each day is doing is causing me to look at situations, things going on in my life, from a different angle.
Occurring is a different outlook? slowly going from a negative pull of gravity and instead moving towards it. releasing the pull. going from thoughts and focus on myself me(I) and have started to see the magnitude of the path we have been on. what we are doing and what learning is happening not to mention some pretty cool changes; events and sights not previously really thought about or recalled the way they should be probably.
What has been missed during the last 6 weeks as a result, and now remembered?
- thousands of miles of beautiful country-side
- incredible history lessons
- seeing my kids growing right in front of my eyes
- sunrises and sunsets in no less than 10 states in 6 weeks: Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and one District of Columbia
- And the best of all, friendships have been started and feel some which will exist for a lifetime- this goes for relationships being built while working as well as during my off-time. Let me give you an example
- Betty, Nick, and Jake Iowa- not even sure where to start. Love you guys.
- Lauren E VA - Wonderful person and family no less
- Scott and Angela- Wisconsin - Incredible people and family! Lifelong friends
- Tiffany I- Wisconsin - just a real nice person
- Chris H - Ohio - Where do I start- Amazing guy. highlight him more shortly
- Dan and Tara, Pennsylvania - Certainly lifelong new friends!
- Marc and Julie - By way of Australia and Colorado. Super cool couple
- Larry - Virginia- Great mechanic I surmise
- Steve Ex-Marine- DC - Hero
- Bob n daughter Erin OH Super Neat people. met at the Honor Flight Day D.C.
- Meg and Eric - Pennsylvania. Neat neat family
- Greg H - North Carolina - He and his wife have the RV desire. Started with his wife!
- Leonard and Felisa - Indiana - Retired entrepreneur and just wonderful people
- Amy G- Indiana- Nice conversation with Amy about live concerts attended. Again just a nice person
- Zhacklina - Buckle sales gal helped me spend $300. Incredible singer by the way.
- Helena - Virginia- Proud new mother. Wonderful person
- Ajay - Virginia Great IP and Patent Attorney
Because it's important, I wanted to focus a little further on both the Proverbs passage previously mentioned but also one of those new friendships. This someone was probably the reason for turning on the AM station that troubling day on the road.
quick shout out to one of my best buds, quite possibly it was you Dave that started it all. You on my mind offered me a reason for opening up to Chris that day and 'witnessing' a bit. THANK YOU Davey C. For our friendship and continuing to not give up and "work" on me. Maybe finally figuring out I can't do this on me own and never could!!
So I met Chris H. on a business appointment in Ohio. Chris is the CFO for a sizeable and growing design/Architecture firm within the community. The conversation yes revolved around business but also our story as it was sitting at the time. Chris seemed to be genuinely interested in our conversation as it pertains to our travels and the situation with schooling the kids. so we continued. He highlighted he and his wife Shawn also home schooled their children, how they enjoyed it and why it was determined to be the best decision for their family.
Furthering the homeschooling topic we talked about support structures around today, much different from when they embarked on such a challenge, and when it was highlighted Tiffany's support repository coming from some of the gals at church back home. Next thing you know we are talking about church in greater detail. Who would-a thunk...
This is when Chris opened up about his ministry outside of his role as CFO. It was an amazing story. See Chris ministers to men incarcerated for life! Some of them have never been free to be exact and never will be. One young man we talked about was actually born in a woman's prison and then transitioned to youth jails, because of bad choices, and finally into a full-fledge prison for MEN. Sad.
Tough to fathom the story of that young man. The tragedy of it all. It was like a story out of the Batman and the character BANE. It was a heavy discussion and also amazing coming from a guy whom I had just met. What an incredible person. What was even more amazing was his comment that many of these men are brilliant and just made bad choices much of what was modeled to them as young men. Sound familiar? for all of us regardless of whether or not we are in the federal pen; habits and traits learned.
Why mention all of this? because it's important and has to do with this feeling of gravity in my life and the feeling of change around it. In fact it was on this day, when listening to the message about our "works" , when I thought of Chris and his ministry.
It will probably serve best if I show you first-hand the dialog which started via email with Chris. No doubt it has roots in this blog discussion and it amazes me the depth of it all. Not like me...to open up and share such feelings let alone with such a fresh relationship. Somethings going on.....
From: Dawson Fercho
Sent: Monday, November 16, 2015 9:41 AM
To: 'Chris H'
Subject: Chris, Thinking out loud
Good morning Chris. Hope you and Shawn are well. We in fact are still in DC until Saturday and then onto Roanoke Rapids, NC until we move onto Charlotte for Thanksgiving. Had to reach out on a topic that resonated with me this past week.
First I had a business trip to Durham the other day to meet with a firm by the name of XYZ. It was a long drive back and forth in one day…9 hours to be exact and really took a lot out of me.
I traditionally don’t listen to the radio during my travels in that much of it is noise and quite honestly like to use such opportunities for thinking. This day however happened to turn to the AM dial to pick up some thoughtful listening. The message was on “works” and specifically how to bring God into that which you are doing in your day to day career. The message was about ..your “works”..and how ALL of it should be gone into for bringing glory to God….. and if you look at in such a perspective the drudgery, monotony, the repetition will dissolve. The specific passage discussed was proverbs 14:23 “in all toil there is a profit. Yet mere talk tends to bring poverty”.
The discussion hit me pretty hard considering the morning started quite early on the road and did not start the greatest. It was exacerbated with traffic almost the entire way to Richmond. Was trying to find joy in that moment and was questioning the drive and what I was doing driving so far from home sort of speaking with no clear understanding of whether or not the decision to do so would prove fruitful.
I then thought about your ministry and those incarcerated for life in many cases. The message had me think - how do these men release themselves from the reality they will, in many cases, never again breathe air as free men. How do they handle such a reality of confinement, locked into a daily routine with very little joy? I trust this passage is one of the only ways to serve their time with a perspective of joy.
Then thought, regardless of whether or not I/we as free men, not prisoners to the Fed/state system, are still in some sort of ‘jail’ if our perspective of daily works is focused on the monotony of it all, focusing on just ourselves; if we do not go into our daily lives by giving our works to the glory of God.
So appreciative to have turned on the radio that morning. It put so many things back in perspective for me. Brought me some joy and comfort in my travels.
Have a great week Chris.
All the best,
From: Chris: Monday, November 23, 2015 2:54 PM
To: Dawson Fercho
Subject: RE: Chris, Thinking out loud
Sorry I am tardy responding to your email! Wow, your thinking out loud is coming across loud and clear! I hear what you are saying and it seems to come back to the question of our purpose in life whatever our circumstances. As a follower of Christ we do have a purpose which is to worship God and to learn to enjoy Him forever. (John Piper says we are called to worship God by enjoying Him forever.) Whether one is in prison or out in “free society” I have learned (and as you suggest) that we are all “in prison” to something. It is just much harder for those of us outside of prison walls to see the “walls” we place around our own hearts. Many times those walls are invisible to us, yet they do exist and constrain our sight and ability to find true joy in life which really only comes from faith in Christ. We have had these kinds of conversations with inmates many times. How does a person in those circumstances find joy and purpose? I like to be reminded of this saying: “Jesus gave His life for us, so that He could give His life to us, so that He could live His life through us”! If we can be reminded that God desires to work in and through our lives, then we can see there is a purpose regardless of the circumstances we live in (whether incarcerated or free). We all have relationships with people who need to see Christ in our lives. You are a terrific example of that. You bring great joy and enthusiasm and passion to your family, friends and even the people like me who just met you. That is a gift from God, to all who are blessed to be part of your life. So do not be discouraged. God is at work in a big way in your life. Keep on keeping on!
Wow what a perfect message for me at this moment. Something to carry with me for a lifetime.
Thank you Chris, thank you all who we have met during our journey thus far, thank you Dave C., thank you Thor-SEE, and Wags for your enduring friendships, Thank you Evan & Sarah, Thank you Kids, Mom,Dad, Haylie & Kass. And finally Thank you Tiffany Dawn. Incredibly grateful for all of you!