On our family vacation last week, we visited an amusement park. My eight-year old was finally at the age where she could try some more ambitious, if not scary, rides. Watching her experiment with her fear and curiosity was fascinating. Before most rides, she was completely enthusiastic and daring. But waiting in line seemed to rattle her confidence. Several times, we almost bailed completely. In fact, one of my favorite pictures of her was taken right before she boarded a particularly scary ride (one even I was too scared to try!). In the picture, her eyes are like saucers and her eyebrows are raised as she clutches her father’s hand. But for the rest of the trip, she raved about that particular ride and almost cried when she realized she could not ride the rollercoaster one more time.
I was thinking this week that adults are not that dissimilar from my daughter when it comes to something new and exciting. There is a part of us that cannot wait to try something new, and there is a part of us that is terrified about the experience, imagining in our minds the countless things that could go wrong or that might happen. As with any change, we have the option to get on the ride and experience the thrill of something new, or we have the option to play things safe, and step out of line. I suspect there are times when getting out of the line is the best option. But more often, I suspect we miss out on adventure and new life when we don’t just step onto the ride. Too often we forget that we can get on the ride and still say, “I am glad I tried it. And now I will never do that again!”
Last night, the James City County Board of Supervisors approved a special use permit for the Kensington School to put a second location on the property of Hickory Neck Episcopal Church. Hickory Neck has been dreaming about creating a school on our property for about ten years. We kept deferring the dream because we were not sure we could both build and run a school. But this past year, the Holy Spirit intervened, and we discovered that the Kensington School was looking to open a second location in our neighborhood. God seemed to be inviting us to finally step onto a thrilling, albeit a bit scary, ride. We have been standing in line for a while, getting more and more excited about what God can do through Hickory Neck. Last night, the Board’s approval was our last step before boarding the ride.
Like with any change, this new phase of ministry will be full of exciting, wonderful things we never expected, and some challenging, hard things we never expected. Part of our work is trusting the same Holy Spirit that has been guiding us thus far will continue to guide and lighten our path. Some of us may be wide-eyed, with eyebrows raised about what is coming next. But I suspect in a year or so, most of us will be thrilled that we said yes to the Holy Spirit, and agreed to try to be a force for change for our community. I am here, with you, Hickory Neck – holding your hand and ready for the adventure!