road trip 13: a first-day reflection

In all probability, Road Trip 13 will last 53 days, which will make it the longest road trip I’ve taken since the yearlong one. I’ll be spending nearly 8 weeks in 25+ states, diving deeply into several college ministry situations, interacting with several others, meeting new people, spending time with old friends, speaking at a couple of conferences, and – I’m sure – encountering other graces that I certainly can’t anticipate right now.

There will be a dozen hours or more spent on the road some days, but other times I’ll spend days in a single city. There will be forward-pushing and back-tracking, making some plans, experiencing others that God made without filling me in, and occasionally watching Him allow plans to seemingly fall through. I’m excited about the fact that it’s one big circle; I’ll be trekking through at least one state on each edge of our nation.

I’ll get to see some amazing cities and a whole bunch of amazing campuses – in the middle of the school year, too, which is always far more fun. It means viewing campus tribes in action, their members scurrying to and fro, changing before our eyes, learning all sorts of Psychology and Economics and Sociology and Theology and more, both in-class and, perhaps even moreso, outside of class (for better and for worse).

But even with all the profundity of my upcoming weeks, it’s become eerily easy to take it all in stride; this is, after all, Number 13. So today was a pretty normal day for Benson: I attended church, ate lunch with a friend, went to the grocery store, attended my weekly community group meeting, and left Dallas for a several-state road trip. Same ol’, same ol’.

Today I drove near my old apartment in Downtown Dallas, where my life was “settled” for a short time before the yearlong trip; tonight I passed through Abilene, where I spent 5 1/2 years before Dallas. Both views remind me that I’m on a sojourn these days… not just this road trip, but the last 2+ years. And really, the 6 years before that. All spent sojourning (or so it seems), which is an interesting vocation for a non-adventurer like me.

Now I sit in a Motel 6 in Big Spring, Texas, not as far as I could have gotten tonight, but far enough that I feel like the trip has begun. Nor does it feel as exotic as the Motel 6 in Northern California will seem this Friday. (Motel 6s do, incidentally, feel very much like a home to me now.)

Tomorrow won’t be too bad, especially as I hit the generous speed limits in the otherwise mind-numbing drive between Midland and El Paso, Texas. Then Tempe by the end of the day, which is Stop One in what looks to be a crazy week.

And a crazy trip.

This is Road Trip 13. Thanks for coming along. If you’re new here, I generally blog daily on what I’ve learned about college ministry, without straying too far. This is fundamentally a Collegiate Ministry blog, not a journal of my adventures. You can, however, see all the major ministry activities, campuses visited, etc., at the Road Trip 13 Page.

But stay tuned – I’ve got plans to begin sharing the adventures in another forum, probably starting this week sometime. Some of you might find that worthwhile reading.

written from Big Spring, TX

Road Trip 13: Day 1 recap
drove Dallas to Big Spring, TX
miles so far: 292
T-shirt: the Wolverine tribe of Grove City College

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