The most competent and thoughtful people are often the most anxious. Their ability to foresee potential problems and plan can spiral into anxious hours and sleepless nights.
This truth is illustrated in a delightful story, The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, by Rinker Buck – an account of his attempt to follow the Oregon Trail in 2011, accompanied by his brother Nick in a covered wagon pulled by a three-mule team.
To prepare, Rinker studies books and maps. He buys the finest mules and gear. He searches for the best covered wagon. But every problem that he solves only leads to more questions and worries. Even when he and Nick finally push off from St. Louis, with their mules and wagon working well, Rinker can’t sleep. He’s up late each night, looking at maps. He’s worries about the wagon, the mules, the weather, the water they must carry.
His worries prove prescient. Along the way, repeatedly, the Buck brothers find themselves lost, broken down, without water, with weather and mules that won’t cooperate.
Rinker Buck had not thought to include that one thing the original Oregon Trail pioneers possessed – a wagon train of other people! Alone, this trip is too perilous.
This Sunday we’ll consider our desire for security. We have good reasons to feel insecure about life, lived on our own. On our own we are mistake-prone, with tunnel-vision, tired and easily frustrated.
But, are we alone? Do we travel the Trail alone?