“I have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things!” protests Bilbo Baggins when an uninvited and rather odd wizard appears at his doorstep one fine morning. As the main character of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Bilbo, like most hobbits, views adventures as unwanted nuisances and disruptions to his comfortable and rather sedentary lifestyle.
“I wonder how long God wants us to stay here.” These words tumbled out of my mouth while walking with my wife around the neighborhood where we had moved to just a few years earlier. Even now, more than 15 years later, I still remember the quizzical look she gave me.
After moving to a new town a few years earlier, we had settled in. We had a close community of friends, a church we loved, and good jobs that we enjoyed. We even bought our first place and poured hours into fixing it up. Why would we move again?
Imagine waking up. But rather than your typical experience of slowly opening your eyes as you gradually wake up, imagine that you are jarred awake suddenly.
You sense a queasiness in your stomach as you realize that your bed is swaying. Disoriented, you realize that books and pictures are unexpectedly falling from shelves. You hear glass shattering and a low, unrecognizable rumble, but you can’t quite identify the source. As a racing heartbeat quickly replaces the fog of sleep, you realize that you are in the midst of an earthquake.
On New Year’s Day, I started a new tradition with our family. We all gathered on the couch and reviewed our past five years by looking through the annual calendars my wife creates each year. Each calendar features personal photos that we had taken from the previous year. We had fun seeing how much our kids had changed and grown over the past five years. Of course, there were the standard family photos from holiday gatherings and pictures from our kids’ school and sporting events.