So why do I want to create an online journal? What can I share with you that might be relevant? I am writing this primarily for others in my position, professionals who travel week after week, and don’t feel that they have a way of keeping in touch with their faith like they can when they are at home.
So a little about me, to give some perspective. I am a salesman. I travel. A lot. I am probably away from home at least a few days during two to three weeks a month. This means a lot of hotels. A lot of restaurants. And a lot of time. But before I get to the whys and hows of the blog, let me digress and share a little of my faith journey with you.
I was raised in the Catholic Church, and through middle school, took all the usual Catholic steps, the sacraments, Communion, Confession, Confirmation… But like most Catholic school children, there wasn’t a lot after seventh grade to root your spirituality. In High School, things changed. Two events took place my Freshman year that would have a profound impact on my spirituality in general, and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A classmate proposed an idea and she and I began to play our guitars at Saturday Mass with the blessings of an older, but (in retrospect) quite progressive priest, Father Charles Platt. He encouraged us, and our group grew to over twenty musicians within the next couple of years.
At the same time, my parents, and four other couples decided that our spiritual education should not end with middle school graduation. So the Christian Youth Experience was born out of their vision. And for the next several years, I learned about Jesus in a weekly Bible Study group that met at the homes of our group members. Rather radical for a Roman Catholic Church. Further, the Ecumenical Movement of the 70’s was in full swing, so kids were drawn in from the local Protestant Church and we shared our journeys between two faiths.
So the path of my personal relationship with Jesus is far beyond the scope of this page, but suffice it to say that I had my ups and downs, mountain tops and deep valleys.
When I started working at Minolta Corporation (now Konica Minolta), some sixteen years ago, I began traveling regularly, and that meant sleeping away from home, dining out frequently, and entertaining sales people, business owners, customers, and colleagues. Well, there were two choices: go with them to their hangouts, or bring them to mine. Well, I didn’t have a frame of reference, so more often than not, it was follow, not lead. To the point where I left my faith at home, and eventually, left it in a closet at home. To the point where I wasn’t even going to church when I was at home, and my wife was the sole spiritual head of our household for several years. I feel a huge remorse when I think of kneeling bedside with my oldest child twenty years ago to say prayers every night, but not providing that nurturing spirit for my other two youngsters. That story has a happy ending despite my backsliding, and I’ll follow that thread elsewhere.
The story of this blog comes from a renewal that began about ten years ago, when my son was being confirmed. Our Music Minister from my church found out I played bass and persisted in pulling me into the Contemporary music group at our church, so even though I was kind of going through the motions, the Lord was slowly finding a way to draw me back to Him.
Then, in 2003 or so, I was in Greensboro, NC driving by the mall on my way back to the hotel, when I decided to stop. I went into a Christian Bookstore, and bought a Bible (literally only God knows why), since I had long since forgotten where I had put my old one. Slowly, my faith life began to turn around, and suddenly being on the road had a new challenge; how do I keep focused while traveling…
I felt a renewal that brought me back to high school days and CYE, and a new relationship with Jesus and a need to share Him with others. But now I was in my forties, a business person, and working on a day to day basis with other professionals in the “real” world. But small steps of faith can lead to big leaps in a faith walk . I started to notice things in my customers and dealers offices that gave me hope and courage. Books on faith, and even a Bible on the occasional business owner’s desk. So here I was, this time in Charlotte asking a dealer president for a recommendation for a church one Wednesday night. “Why not join me at my church” was the answer, and thus began my search for “Fellowship on the Road”. I’ll post some random stories as I progress…