Climb A Tree

This morning I took a walk in the snow of northern Michigan. I took this picture as I entered the woods. The setting was beautiful and mysterious with fresh snow draped on the trees. The path into the woods was known but also unknown. I was curious and hesitant at the same time. For several weeks, I’ve been pondering 2020 and thinking about the next decade. What will come in the years ahead? What will I be exploring?

As I started into the woods, I thought, “What will I find on the road ahead?”  I didn’t know but that didn’t stop me from going forward.

I have been in crossroad years before. The year was 1979. That time it was Guadalajara Mexico on a trip for college. It was December 31. I was thinking about the decade of the 1980’s. I realized it could be a significant decade in my life. I remember thinking that I would hopefully finish college the next spring, go to graduate school in the fall, start a first career job, might marry at some point during the decade, possibly have children, and begin my “adult life”.

Ten years later that then unknown decade ended up being one of the most defining of my life. I did get married, we did have children and I started a job that focused my entire career internationally.  I was a very successful fundraiser raising millions of dollars. I travelled around the world and making friends everywhere I went.

There was sadness in that decade with the unexpected death of my father.  There were jobs that didn’t turn out as planned and with each situation there was a step forward into a wonderful mysterious future.

That December night in Guadalajara I was in a church service. I went forward for prayer. I was with people from another culture, but in hindsight an ominous foreshadowing of the variety of people and cultures my career would be built around.

As this new decade of the 2020’s begins I see a similar decade of great possibilities and a hinge point in my life. It may bring grandchildren, the writing of a book, the expansion or maybe closing of a business and opportunities in the organizations that I serve that are actually quite amazing and potentially culture changing.

There will be joy, there will be sadness and there will be loss. I know that I’m not alone. As I look forward on this journey it is part of a bigger journey which is a part of a bigger purpose for my life and for that I am grateful. God has a plan for this journey and I am walking forward in His care.

So today I walked into the forest with Hope, not Despair.  In the mystery there was joy and anticipation. The further into the woods I walked I saw a tree that caught my attention. I decided to climb it. A couple of limbs broke because they were brittle. Others were strong and secure so I kept climbing the tree. The tree allowed me to get perspective.

The farther up I climbed the further I could see toward the horizon. And from there I could see a path forward. I was not sure where it would lead, but now I had a better perspective for what was next.

In thinking about 2020 and the decade to come there were be unknowns. When those times come maybe it is time to get a new perspective. Those are the defining moments that direct the path forward. In those times we look at what we don’t know and figure out how to explore what is next. Sometimes that may mean climbing a tree to get a fresh perspective. For me it always means praying for wisdom for the path forward.

May you have wisdom for your 2020 path forward.


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