I grew up in a rural town in a farming family. One day when I was little, I was riding along with my mom in the car. I can only guess we were driving out to meet my dad at one of the fields we happened to be farming at the time. My siblings and I would often ride along with my mom on these trips out to the fields. East of town, miles down Highway 87*, we would often pass a dirt road that skirted a pale green shed with white pipes protruding from the ground beside it. The curious child that I was, I once asked my mom where that road led to.
“The middle of nowhere,” was my mom’s off-hand response. And of course… I took her literally. The middle of nowhere? How could there be a nowhere? What did it look like? Did the mysterious road just end in an utter black void? This concept of nowhere must’ve baffled me and terrified me. I know this because one day, on a trip out to a field, my mom turned down this nowhere-road. I don’t remember my reaction, but I am told that I sort of freaked out. Were we going to drive off the edge of the world?!
But the road didn’t end. It was like all the others. It led somewhere.
This may have been the beginning of—or my first run in with—my fear of the unknown; my fear of the future. It is something I often worry about. What will happen? What if…? Where will this road lead? What to choose? These kinds of questions can be debilitating, anxiety provoking, and even depressing. They can keep us from acting and choosing at all—going nowhere fast.
The idea for this article came as I was preparing to leave for my first graduate residency in Pennsylvania. I would be traveling alone, without my wife—something that made me anxious. I would be away from my wife for twelve days. On top of this, I found myself wondering if this graduate program in creative writing and publishing was right for me—perhaps I should’ve chosen the University in Texas. Would I be good enough? Is it God’s will that I pursue writing and storytelling? In short, I found myself doubting. But then I thought of the nowhere-road.
My experience is perhaps a good reminder: the roads we choose to take lead somewhere. Sure, we can choose wrongly, we can make mistakes—this is why we must take a bit of time to discern our choices—but we must choose nonetheless. As long as our intentions are good and we place our trust in God, seeking to do His will, He will lead us down the right road. And it will not end in some dark abyss. We will know whether our choices are good by their fruits (Matt. 7:20, NRSVCE). Most of all, God will bring good out of all things (Rom. 8:28, NRSVCE).
We go nowhere only when we fail to move. So, it is with trust that I go forward with this graduate program. It is with trust that I follow God’s will in pursuing my desire to write and tell stories. I have taken the first steps now. There is still the journey ahead—the unknown—and I do not know exactly where the road will lead. But that is okay. God knows, and that is enough (He wants what is best for each of us, after all). Besides, it is better to focus on today.
I do know this: the road will lead somewhere. I hope and trust it will lead me to closer union with God and a deeper love for my wife, family, and my work as a writer/storyteller. I hope it will help me to come to a fuller understanding of my vocation as a husband and writer.
Have courage. Take the first step—take a leap of faith. See where it takes you. Go somewhere.
*Note: The Highway number has been altered to protect privacy.