“And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.”
– Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
I have been blessed to live great stories in my life: Feeling the excitement of college athletics, studying abroad in Egypt for a semester and traveling around the Middle East talking to journalists, politicians, film-makers, religious leaders and students, living in Kenya for 2 years selling environmentally and socially beneficial products to rural Africans, traveling by bus through 5 African countries, seeing incredible sights and meeting interesting people along the way and going back to Japan, working/snowboarding my way through Nagano, to name just a few.
Like Donald Miller says, I’ve gotten a taste for a better story. I look back at those times in my life and realize that I was part of something bigger than myself, something so compelling and interesting that I often forgot about time, money or appearances and just lived well. Some may say I have the travel bug (guilty), but it’s more than just the desire to travel. Living a better story means living the good life. It means having a purpose and losing yourself in what you’re doing. That, I believe is the ultimate goal of work and perhaps life itself: living a story so compelling that it points to something (or someone) much greater than ourselves.
Having lived great stories, I’ve struggled being in Colorado and not having as much direction in the short-term. Great things are always on the horizon (like our aquaponics project in Kenya) but God’s invariably distasteful answer seems to be “wait”. I’ve been comfortable, but being comfortable I’ve realized that I don’t like it. Cormac McCarthy, an American novelist says it this way, “Anything that doesn’t take years of your life and drive you to suicide seems hardly worth doing.” That may be a little extreme, but I understand what he means. In overcoming challenges and struggles we find meaning in life, not through surrounding ourselves with greater luxury.
Learning to wait has been important though. Sometimes living a great story means putting months or years of preparation in the gym, even when you want to be fighting the real battles in the ring. I’ve seen too many projects in Africa crash and burn because we have a great idea, raise money, build it, and leave – never once consulting locals regarding their needs or ideas. Our project is far from a guaranteed success, but we have put in a great deal of research, planning and consulting with locals. Though difficult, learning to wait and prepare thoroughly has been good for me and our project.
And now I’m leaving for Kenya on April 8th, just two weeks away. I’m excited and nervous, overwhelmed by everything I need to do and hopeful about the outcome. To read more, check out our website, www.the-foodsource.com or do some research on aquaponics. We are excited about the opportunity and hope you will be too.