As one of the highlights of our year, Sally and I took a white-road journey. One of my favorite stories on the trip: I decide to take a jog along a path at the foot of the Grand Tetons. The trail is vaguely marked, and I kind of know where I am. Well, about forty minutes into the run, I begin to realize that my “shortcut home” is not leading me where I think, and, well, I am tolerably lost. Then my phone rings (yes, I run with my phone, cause I like…well, that’s another story). My son Cannon is on the phone; I share that I’m lost and I’ll need to call him back. Maybe he should try Sally. A few minutes later Sally calls. (Thank goodness I had my phone, I’d hate to have missed all these calls.) She sympathizes that I’m lost, and asks if I’ve seen any bears. That is comforting. But what else can she do: I’m lost. All of a sudden I come upon a road—this is encouraging, though I have been running now for fifty minutes. I run the road for about ten minutes in the general direction of home, when finally I see a ranger station. Quick inquiry: I’m only fifteen (more) minutes from home. I let Sally off the hook of coming to my rescue and jog the rest of the way home, tail between my legs (so to speak). What a run!
That story was part of a three-week, white-road journey, and that story defines a white-road journey:
“White-road and red-road journeys are qualitatively different. You need the right map. On the red road it is about destination. On the white road it is about the road. On the white road you must travel light. The white road is quiet. It’s about simplicity. It’s often adventurous. You need to dig deep. Sometimes there is no road. You have to trust your gut…On the red road, it’s about the destination…The white road: it’s about the journey. Traveling the white road places risk in your own hands, not in the hands of others.”
So writes Gary Erickson and Lois Lorentzen in Raising the Bar: Integrity and Passion in Life and Business, The Story of Clif Bar Inc.
Our white-road journey was a special event: we were celebrating a milestone—our last kid off to college, a new chapter. The kids are growing, and so are we. The trip was illustrative of our next chapter: we saw lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
We saw God’s hand everywhere: in the mountains, and valleys, and plains; along the hikes, horseback rides, boat trips, and long, long drives; and in the dramatic rock formations and the deep, deep lakes.
But more than anything, we were just together, on an adventure, a white-road journey. And that’s our next chapter.
I hope your 2011 has been full of white-road journeys, and that your 2012 will bring you even more.