Challenge and Adventure

Jeff and I went to Orlando last week for a church planting conference which was great and taught us a lot about church planting. But it was on our trip back that we learned much about ourselves and each other.

When we left the conference, Jeff decided to wait to get gas, not realizing that Florida toll roads don’t have easy access gas stations. So Jeff was in a panic because he was sure we were going to run out of gas. But we had our GPS which tells us where the next gas station is. The closest one was over 15 minutes away. But I’m not really that worried. I’m mildly annoyed that Jeff didn’t get gas already, but, hey, I’m willing to hike a few miles…it’ll make for a great story later. The GPS had us turn down some back road that Jeff thought looked like a scene out of “Deliverance.” Jeff, meanwhile is clutching his heart and gasping for air. After driving and driving, we finally get to the gas station that our GPS has taken us to, and the gas station is closed for remodeling. I just started laughing hysterically because it was so absurd. So we have to turn around and go back the other way, and Jeff is now really sure we’re not going to make it. We’re another 5 minutes away since we have to backtrack. And since the gas light has been on since we left, we are now well below empty. Jeff is still in a panic, but beginning to laugh a little at the absurdity of it all, and I’m telling him it’s no big deal if we have to walk to get gas. But we’re on a main road now, and I’m pretty sure there’s not going to be any serial killers after us (too many crime shows for me). We don’t end up running out of gas…anti-climatic, I know.

So we drive 13 more hours. It’s midnight, and we both haven’t slept all day. We hit TN, and we hit snow and ice. Since TN seemingly has only one snow plow, the roads had not been cleared off all that well. We’re driving on the interstate 2 days after the snow hit, and in some spots only one lane on the interstate had been cleared off and even that was questionable. Even though Jeff and I lived in Wisconsin for a couple of years, and we learned how to drive in snow/ice I was freaking out a little (ok, I was clutching the passenger door). Jeff didn’t seem to notice because he was busy pointing out the snow-covered landscape to me, and then he proceeded to point out all the cars and trucks that had slid off the side of the road. I’m not really noticing what’s around me so much (except for the jack-knifed semi-truck in the ditch) because I have my eyes glued to the road looking for patches of black ice and getting irritated that Jeff does not have his eyes glued to the road like I do. Meanwhile, there were some idiots out there who don’t have a clue how to drive on these kind of roads, and they were flying past us. Jeff told me to stop trying to tell everyone else how to drive, including a police officer who also flew past us. After an hour of this, we made it safely home…once again anti-climatic.

So what’s the deal? Here’s a man who cannot stand to ride roller coasters (relatively safe) but is totally calm driving on ice with life-threatening conditions with crazy people driving around us and is busy pointing out the scenery to me. And I’m willing to walk on back roads, where unseen dangers lurk, to get gas but get a little crazy over ice-covered roads (although I probably would have been fine if we’d just run off the road…)

After almost 18 years of marriage, we learned that I like adventure and Jeff likes challenge. And these are two very different things. A speaker at the conference said that during her and her husband’s church planting process (ie. roller coaster ride), while one of them was busy puking their guts over the side of the roller coaster the other one had their hands in the air loving life. So my husband doesn’t like adventure, and I hate challenges…I figure we’re pretty well-matched because life is made up of both…

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February 2010
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