One Sunday afternoon in my childhood, I experienced one of the worst April Fools’ jokes I can remember. My Dad kept talking about loading up the car and going for a drive. I’m in! No, really, I was in the car waiting. Soon my anticipation of a country ride turned to aggravation as I sat in the car waiting. It was taking my Dad and family forever to get to the car. Not being a person with a lot of patience, I soon headed back inside to see what the hold up was. It was then my Dad dropped the bomb… “April Fools,” he said as he sat in his recliner reading the newspaper. I was devastated.
As far back as I can remember, I always enjoyed riding in the car. My family frequently enjoyed scenic afternoon drives through the small towns and country surrounding our home. In my teen years, I enjoyed putting countless miles on the family car going nowhere, usually with a friend. We would drive from our end of town to the other, a loop through the parking lot of the where-to-go-to-be-seen
When I drove off to college, I continued the tradition. Not long after unloading my car and stocking my “shoe box” pantry and small dorm fridge, I pulled out all the information I had on my new home. Found it! The campus map. I studied it to find points of interest like the cafeteria and buildings where I would be spending most of my time for the next several years. To really nail down my bearings and learn the lay of the land, I pulled out a small map of the town so I could learn the main roads around campus and through town. With my roommate not arriving for a couple of days, I headed out the door for a short walk around campus, maps in hand. From a previous visit, and giving my family a tour, I was quickly learning my way around campus. The plan was to locate the buildings where I would be registering for classes in the morning in hopes of getting their easily and early to avoid the long line for registration. (This was before the internet.) Feeling prepared for the walk out of my comfort zone in the morning, I headed to my car for an early evening cruse around campus and down the main roads through town.
Turning the handles, I rolled down both windows of my “HO DA” (The ‘N’ was missing.) to engage the 2/60 air conditioner. Two windows down, going sixty miles per hour, was my only car a/c. A little nervous, and a lot excited about the new adventure unfolding, I put the stick-shift in gear and exited the parking lot. This was my first solo drive through a town I would come to love. I drove by churches I would visit, though neither of these would become my church home. Cruised by apartments I would move to in a couple of years, the mall where I would work as a college student, and a children’s home that would later become a big part of my life. Unknown to me at the time, I would later discover this home to be under the leadership of family friends from my days as a toddler. The staff and residents of the home attended weekly services at the church I would later find and call my church home. In fact, after a short bout of working in the corporate world, and discovering it was not for me, I would join the staff at the children’s home as their full-charge accountant. The pastor colleagues of my Dad from long ago would become my professional colleagues as well. Gods calling for me to begin a journey in the nonprofit world would begin right there at that small dot on the map.