Old Roads…

I’m sure I’ve mentioned him here before, but one of the artists that I’ve appreciated most over the last few years has been Andrew Peterson. I often find the stories he tells, whether in his music or writing like The Wingfeather Saga or Adorning the Darkness, resonating deeply with the stories of my own life. One of those points of resonance lately has been a song from several years ago called You’ll Find Your Way. It’s the story of a father’s heart for his son as he grows into the life and the world around him. It’s a guidepost the father wants his son to remember among the joys and sorrows that he knows his son will face. It’s a prayer for his son’s future… My prayer for my own sons. Take a listen (and maybe grab a tissue)…

About a month ago, I dropped Kota off at university and this song played me all the way home across the state. He handles adversity well, but I know there will be big challenges and temptations coming. I know that he’s going to feel like he’s not enough someday. I also know that in most cases that feeling is a liar – and in every other case, when he really isn’t enough, I know that the One who is enough is right there with him hoping my son will lean into His strength. Right there in the old roads I’ve tried to show him.

A few days later, I compounded my fatherly confliction as I climbed into a Uhaul and left Siah standing on the curb in front of our old house while the remnant of my household began our trek 1300 miles away to begin a new ministry. He’s staying behind to finish his last semester of high school, and I felt as if I were abandoning him. In my head, I know we’re entrusting him to the care of God and the body of Christ, but my heart sometimes wants me to feel guilty so I’ll stop doing the good, hard things that God’s asking me to do. This one may have been the hardest. So I hugged him too long, blubbered some fatherly words that were probably incoherent, then I prayed that he’d grow to love the old roads, drove away through a blinding flood of tears, and skipped this song every time it came up for the next 3 days of driving.

That was Monday. I thought of this song for my boys. I want them to hear it’s words as my own words to them. I hope they’ll never forget how to find their way home.

But then on Wednesday, we had almost finished unloading the truck when LuAnn had to go to an urgent care as she fought the pain of a kidney stone. Then on Thursday, Josiah was admitted to the hospital to have an appendectomy. His appendix had ruptured and left a big mess of infection inside and he would spend the next 10 days in the hospital, 1300 miles away. (I can never thank our many friends who cared for him in our absence enough, but we will be forever grateful to you, and for you.) A few days later, our oldest daughter called from the side of the road 1700 miles away where her transmission had decided to go out (and take the engine down with it). I told the church here that if opposition and obstacles are greatest at the beginning of any important endeavor then we have great things to look forward to!

It has been one of the most gut wrenching times of my life – and I realize, I’m not only the father in this story of a song. I’m a son, treading through the joy and the sorrow of all that life brings. I know I’m not enough to handle all of this. And yet, here I am, lashed to the ancient mast to keep me standing, looking for the old roads (or what the prophet Jeremiah called “the ancient paths”), confident that if I keep mixing metaphors and plodding along, I’ll find my way. And trusting that my sons will, too.

I love you so much, boys. (Em & Liz… you, too!)

“Hold on boy(s), whatever you do, to the hope that’s taken ahold of you…”

2 Replies to “Old Roads…”

  1. So sorry you, LuAnn and your kids had to go through so much. Wow, but God has sustained you through it all. Very well written, from the heart, article.

    1. He certainly has! He is good even when circumstances are hard, and I’ve learned that it’s often the very hard things we’d like rescued from that He’s using to refine and strengthen us for service further down the road.

      [Side note: I am so grateful for the part you Hopkins have played in nudging me at a critical crossroads in my journey. When you find a need (or just an excuse) to come to Oregon, let me know!]

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