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When Your Sidewalk Ends

A few years ago, I was ducking through the Denver airport when a guy ran by on one of those George Jetson moving sidewalks.  He was in full-boogy mode…suit coat open, necktie streaming over his shoulder, briefcase in one hand and a sheaf of files in the other.  He was obviously a business traveler hoping to make a connecting flight…and he was well on this way.  There was one thing he didn’t count on.

Sometimes Shel Silverstein is right.  The sidewalk ends.

In this case, the moving sidewalk ended and he wasn’t ready for it.  When he tried to transition from moving sidewalk to terminal carpet, he had just reached terminal velocity.  His briefcase, papers, and upper torso continued on at speed when his feet stopped, pitching him forward about 3 feet in the air, but parallel to the ground.  Gravity doing what it does, he piled it on the ground. Papers flew everywhere.

I’m not sure if he made his connecting flight, but I guarantee you he never forgot the layover.

I told you all that because I had a similar experience earlier this week.  It wasn’t  an airport sidewalk, but a project Kelsey and I were running hard on – and gaining speed – came to a halt in a ridiculously short amount of time…like, minutes.  It came as such a shock that I sat down on the chair in our bedroom and admitted to Kelsey “uh….I don’t know what to do next.”  It wasn’t as if I had nothing to do, but after putting so much energy and momentum into this one thing, when it stopped suddenly, it felt like the moving sidewalk ended and I was facedown in my files like the guy in the airport.

It was time for a family reboot.  Kelsey, Queen of Priceline, scored us a couple of nights away. We loaded up the entire family The Abominable Snowman – the big white 15 passenger van that we save for special occasions when we all want to go somewhere and headed out of town.

I’d be amiss to say I’m not still a little bummed about the mystery project going pear shaped, but after a few days away with the family, I am (re)convinced of a few things.

My wife and kids are really, really funny. There were more untweetable comments than we usually gather in a month.  I think we play off one another.  Grayson and I, for instance, have the uncanny ability to both blurt out the same corny retort at the same time.  It’s a little spooky.

I can’t afford not to think big. One of the best parts of the Project That Met an Untimely Death was that it was gargantuan.  The payoff was massive.  The scale was, to use an overused term, epic.  Even though it knocked the wind out of me when it failed to materialize, I later recognized how alive I felt at that level.  I’ve allowed small projects to busy my brain, unaware that they were sucking the life out of me.  No more.

I can make things happen but I’d rather hear God. Even though our getaways are exponentially harder with the addition of each child, for some reason, when we get out of town, I hear from God.  I had a couple of profound dreams in the last few days.  I had some great quiet times pushing a stroller through a hotel hallway in the early morning hours and listening to the Daily Audio Bible on my Blackberry.   I crave that more than The Next Big Thing.

So there you have it.  It was a cruddy week.  It was a great week.  We’re still standing and that’s not something everyone can say.  (Not) The end.


14 Responses

  1. You listen to the daily audio bible?

  2. So I bear my soul regarding failure on a massive scale, and your takeaway is a question about whether or not I really listen to the daily audio bible? 🙂 HA!

    I do, albeit not religiously. Reading the Bible is easier when one has two hands to hold it with. Occupy those hands with strollers, wipes, diapers, etc., and sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

    (note to the unaware: Joanna is a good friend and therefore I can speak to her this way.)

  3. Thanks for taking us with you on the your abrupt crash landing and the glorious reboot Randy.

    My memory tells me that Peter wrote in one of his letters that he didn’t mind having to remind his dear readers of some basic principles because we are all subject to forgetting.

    The first thought I had in response to your post was a comment from the leader of a training center that stated you could not pass their first year if you did not have at least two spectacular failures. Seems they wanted people who learned to fly and risk taking was not optional in that environment.

    Good to see you can celebrate failure with all the gusto of one who loves to fly!

  4. Randy –

    I’m not part of the IHOP community. I live up in Bloomington, MN and was part of the Bethany HOP a while back. Since we’re in similar streams, I’ve been following you on Twitter and enjoy your challenging and sometimes very down-to-earth and off-the-wall posts. You’re a Twitter inspiration to me. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your story above. I’ve had my own experiences lately where the sidewalk has ended. It’s encouraging to see an example of a man in ministry who is so adamant about including his wife and family – even when he needs to reboot and synchronize his Holy Spirit GPS.

  5. Wow. I just clcked over from google reader to ask about the daily bible as well. remind me to ask about that later.

    Glad you got some clarity about no more small projects. Only adopt grown kids from now on.

  6. Thanks Randy
    I needed to hear this
    we have a BIG God I get both excited and afraid of those things that are to big and impossible for me to do myself. Keeps me in prayer and His presence thank God

  7. Thanks for this post. I’ve been following your blog for awhile and really appreciate your posts. They are always humorous and the Lord uses them to remind me of simple truths. We had our sidewalk end extremely abruptly last summer (had to close down a business with no viable income in the works) and then God just met us and and took us down a path we never would have dreamed. But boy do I remember falling on our faces and not sure where to go from there! It’s always good to be reminded of those times and to realize how faithful and crazy imaginative God can be!!

  8. Timely thoughts for me. Thank You! Just found myself sprawled. Ouch!
    I love Laura Hackette’s, “Here With Me Now” song.

    I’ve been in your Abominable Snowman van, the name fits it well.

    Praying for you and yours.

    Arvada, CO

  9. Although this will also be a tangent from your main point, as a mother of two (second one is almost 6 weeks old) I am encouraged to read the word or listen to the word and pray whenever and wherever I can! I recently thought of downloading the bible onto my ipod so i could listen to it when i am driving…thanks for sharing that snippet of your stroller pushin’ quiet time!

  10. B-HAGs. That’s all I choose to entertain. Period. Life’s too short for anything else.

  11. And just where did you learn about this Daily Audio Bible anyways???? was it from someone who has an iphone??? LOL!
    All joking aside~ I am so blessed to call you friend and to share just a bit of this crazy life with your fam!
    YOU ROCK because GOD ROCKS IN YOU!!!
    Your humor and “bounce” (back) invigorate us! Our minds are now spinning wildly for new creative ways to recycle trees! (inside joke)!
    love ya!

  12. I was listening to the Daily Audio Bible back when you were trying to get the blackberry app on the jewelry piece you call a phone….

  13. Sometimes you have to wonder why that sidewalk stops moving, but then again, I guess it makes us appreciate it even more when it doesn’t. You guys definitely have what it takes to do giant things, but only when they’re giant things that God ordains and only in His time. Then again, I guess sometimes you can’t know where (or when) He’s going unless you get on that crazy sidewalk with Him and risk being dumped on your head.

  14. Kelsey- B-HAGs!? As in big, hairy, audacious, goals?? That is what my youth pastor always would talk about but I thought he made it up! haha! Where is it from?

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