Wednesday, December 12, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp

All of us dream of going on some kind of big, hairy, audacious adventure at some point in our lives. It could be anything from a foreign adoption, to a new business venture, to a cross-country drive in a convertible.

On many days when I merge onto Interstate 75 in our city, I’m struck by the fact that this road I’m on connects Canada to Key West. I wonder about all the stories and secrets it holds. I’m allured by the adventure of passing my exit up, and driving another thousand miles, purely for the adventure.

God has wired us to be restless, in varying degrees. It’s what moves us to build better things. To ask questions. To see more than meets the eye. To create movements and lead change. It’s part of being made in His image. It’s a good thing.

Sadly, this is perhaps the good, God-given impulse we suppress the most as an affluent Western society. We are risk-averse to a fault, trusting our safety and security more than we trust our Savior.

Shawn and Maile Smucker have co-authored a great new book called How To Use A Runaway Truck Ramp that reminds me of how often I treasure safety and security more than my Savior in everyday life.

The book is a true story that took place earlier this year. It’s a very tangible telling of the raw emotions, second guesses, nagging fears and mountaintop moments (literally) they experienced with their four young kids on a 4-month, 10,000-mile road trip around the United States. And they did it in a borrowed 40-foot tour bus formerly used by Willie Nelson (which I think is so incredibly cool!).

With wisdom, humor and grace, they helped me to see the character-building value of adventure, in a society where adventure is suppressed more often than not.

At places, my heart raced as I careened with them over narrow mountain passes, pumping the failing brakes on their old bus. At other places, I could taste Shawn’s fear of a father stranded with his family, leaning up against the side of the bus, not sure what to do next.

But in every situation, he and Maile helped me see that the adventure was well worth it, despite the difficulties. No. Because of the difficulties.

You’ll be challenged by Shawn and Maile’s story. As you live the adventure with them, they’ll show you that stepping out of your comfort zone is not easy, but it’s eye-opening. It’s not rational, but it’s rewarding. It’s not logical, but it’s life-changing. And that there’s so much to gain from choosing the harder, somewhat crazy road sometimes—even if the brakes are a bit spongy.

Thanks, Shawn and Maile, for letting me tag along on your grand adventure.

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