It’s More Than A Book
I had just finished reading a book called Love Does by Bob Goff, subtitled “Discover a Secretly Incredible Life In An Ordinary World.” It’s a book full of anecdotes from Mr. Goff’s life and a whimsical look at how to keep faith simple and real. It contains examples of acting upon the opportunities and inspiration that come our way.
The book was a gift from my previous girlfriend, Delissa Jo. It contained a note Delissa had written on the inside front cover. In hindsight seems remarkably prophetic and could not have been more perfect. The book unexpectedly turned out to be a parting gift.
“Dearest Andrew, I think you might be very interested in the opening lines of this book. Throughout the entire book, I kept thinking, “this guy reminds me of Andrew.” There may be more unconventionality in “Christendom” than what you are seeing. Perhaps God wants to somehow use you to teach others? Maybe He’s waiting on you.”
“Luv luv Delissa Jo”
“P.S. Can you believe this book was written for YOU! At the exact time you said the words “why can’t a mentor be a guy on a motorcycle?” I finished the book before you said that the first time. When you said those words a second time I knew I was meant to get you the book. And to my great surprise, I’d forgotten how specific the opening lines were until I opened this copy and began to search for the motorcycle part. Wow, you’re special!
“God loves you so much, He wrote a book expressly for you! That blows my mind. That is an awfully big gesture. He is waiting on you Andrew! And He is pursuing you!”
Delissa Jo wrote these words a year or so before the ARFD journey began. In hindsight they ring true. The opening words of Love Does are these:
Chapter 1: “I’m With You”
“When I was in high school, I met a guy named Randy. Randy had three things I didn’t have: a Triumph motorcycle, a beard, and a girlfriend.”
When Delissa Jo gave me the book it was the only time in my life when I also had all three: the Triumph motorcycle, the beard, and the girlfriend. After reading Love Does the inklings of a conviction that I was meant to embark on this journey were appearing in my mind. (And “Randy” is awfully close to “Andy” isn’t it?)
Pastor Hallie and I discussed details further. She expressed her desire to have MSPC’s youth group involved in the organization of the trip. We set a date for the first announcement of the ride– to MSPC’s youth.
One evening I joined Hallie, Hallie’s mother (who was in Miami visiting from Illinois), and approximately twenty rambunctious (in a good way) MSPC youth. Hallie set up a projector and I presented the proposed route. The youths’ eyes widened when I mentioned the Arctic Circle. This is what I had envisioned– a goal that captured the imagination. At the end of the presentation they asked intelligent questions about fuel, polar bears, the cold, snow, where I would sleep, what I would eat, and many others. I answered as best as I could. Some of the questions I hadn’t answered yet properly myself.
At the time I had been in a relationship with a girl named Evie for six months. We had discussed my dream journey at length over the fifteen months prior to my meeting that day with the youth group. We had talked about where I should go and when. Evie had suggested that I should ask people about their dreams while I was on my own dream journey.
As the evening with MSPC’s youth group progressed we began to talk about what challenges I could complete. Somewhere in the conversation dreams were mentioned– specifically collecting people’s dreams. This was exactly the notion that Evie had briefly mentioned prior. The youth group thought it would be a good idea to place each dream on a ribbon and tie them to MSPC. Dreams were becoming a recurring theme. It became apparent that dreams could perhaps be an integral part of the journey. Hallie, the youth group and I, in our enthusiasm set ourselves what proved to be a completely unattainable goal of trying to collect one dream for every mile that I planned to ride– 15,000 dreams! Why not shoot for the stars?
The evening’s gathering came to a close.
Before the meeting I had decided to read a passage from the Epilogue of Love Does to the youth group because it seemed very appropriate. The passage of text was also about pursuing your dreams. It was a piece of text that I would come to read at numerous churches and groups on the journey’s route, and it became the final words in my homecoming speech at MSPC. The text can be found quoted at the end of this book. (Don’t jump ahead!)
By Andrew Hayward Smith © 2015 All Rights Reserved. Copyright Andrew Hayward Smith. No part of this manuscript may be reproduced without the author’s written consent.