This is my dad – a man who grew up in Union County, NC, drinking warm raw milk from the family cow. A man raised on an organic farm, although that term was not used because all farms were “organic” back then. It was a small family farm where they grew and preserved their own food, like most rural NC families in the Fifties. He claims kin to the real-life local characters that inspired the original storyline in the Dukes of Hazzard TV series, if that tells you anything. A good ole Union County boy, turned Charlotte suburbanite, he joined IBM in the mid sixties straight out of high school and eventually went into real estate. Although a country boy at heart, he raised his own family while living in the Charlotte area all of his adult years. Nine years ago, he changed hats to become a right-of-way man – specializing in the acquisition of property and property rights for utility projects. Today, at a time when many 64-year-olds are kicking back, slowing down and preparing for retirement, he is taking on a new challenge. Adventure was calling in Texas – an opportunity to work on a project covering more than half of the 243 counties in the state. Always the dreamer, one of his dreams was to personally experience the history, culture, and people of the Great American West. In preparation, he had attended the 2011 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV, and the dream of living in the west was “spurred on” with that event! Never having lived outside the Charlotte area, he pulled up 64 years of Carolina roots and moved to Grapevine, TX in February of 2012. He plans to spend the next three years traveling from the Piney Woods of East Texas to the oil fields of Midland/Odessa, all the while meeting and negotiating with salt-of-the-earth Texans. Of course there will be time for sight-seeing and travel adventures too! Texas is BIG, and so is a major life-change such as this move, away from family and lifelong friends. It was huge – way out of his comfort zone and far away from the familiarity of everything and everyone in Carolina. I’m proud of him. I hope I am willing and able to make big changes when I’m 64. Change stretches you & tends to keep you young at heart. Let my Dad be a reminder that it’s never too late for any of us to make big changes in life, even if you start with small steps! Remember, he got there one mile at a time.
My dad’s story reminds me of Caleb in the Old Testament, who faced big change later in life, leaving familiarity to go to the Promised Land. Joshua 1:9 says “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” I hope you are encouraged to make changes in your own life. He is with you wherever you go , even if it’s just to the farmer’s market.
You can find more encouragement from the story of Caleb, here, including a post called “Don’t be a but person”, and a prayer if you’re feeling stuck: “God, help me move forward at the speed of your direction and intention, no matter how painful the transition may be.”