In The Arena

1 May 2019 – Sewanee, TN

In her book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown cites this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

This walk across the country and the entire project of trying to raise $600,000 (or $6 million?) to benefit children has helped me rediscover what it is like to be “in the arena.” I am following my dream, being faithful to what I heard God calling me to do over 10 years ago. I’m walking, slowly but surely, across the country, having covered over 750 miles as of today. I’m speaking to people over dinner, one on one, or in larger gatherings in churches. I’m learning how to give my “pitch” on behalf of children. I am meeting all kinds of new people and many of them are graciously hosting me for a night, or even two. I am learning how to cope with and overcome obstacles like distracted drivers, aggressive dogs (five of them charged me at the same time today), sore feet, rain, heat, and the emotional pain of missing my wife, Julia. I am learning how to trust God on a daily basis for the provision of all of my most basic needs - a place to sleep, a shower, food, a place to do laundry, protection from the elements, wisdom and guidance, and regular rest and recovery time so that my body stays well.

Someone at dinner tonight pointed out that in my experience of having my daily needs provided for - one day at a time - my life is mirroring the lives of many of the children for whom I am raising money.

I am in the arena, and if I fail, at least I will fail while daring greatly. I do not want to be a “cold and timid soul.”

I hope I will inspire many others to get in the arena, too.

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