On The Journey: Tossing Your Hat Over the Wall

On The Journey

Sunday, July 1

Low stone wall County Mayo, Ireland. This is near where my ancestor Joe Moore stowed away on an American-bound ship circa 1849.

Mrs. Audry Tyler, age 90, shuffles past me on her walker.  Another church member says,  “Curt, I heard you’re going to be overseas on missions.”

“Yes, we’ll be gone two to three years.”

Mrs. Audry, who served me hundreds of lunches during my school days, says,  “Well, Curt, you won’t be seeing me again.”

I’m at a loss of words. I know she’s probably right. I fumble around.  “Mrs. Audry, you may outlive me.”

That might be true, but it’s unlikely. She and I were born on the same day.  Just nearly half a century apart.  Her in 1922.  Me in 1956.

Mrs. Audry smiles as her daughter Jenell leads her into their Sunday School classroom.  “I’ll see you on the other side.”

I grimace. “We’re not leaving until 2013.”

The reality of what DeDe and I are doing takes hold again.  We’ve thrown our hats over the wall and there is no turning back.

We’re leaving Dry Creek.  Maybe for two years. Maybe three.  Maybe longer.

There are things that will happen in my piney woods that I’ll miss.  Births, deaths, joys, and yes sorrows.

There’s no turning back.

I have no desire to turn back. As much as we can, we feel we are following God’s will to step out of our comfort zone at this time in our lives.

The reality of it began taking hold last week when the For Sale sign went up in front of our home. That’s when I knew we’d tossed our hats over the wall.

Irish writer Frank O’Conner shared how he and a friend roamed the Irish countryside as boys.  When they’d come to a stone wall too high to climb, they’d toss their hats over the wall.  This meant they had no choice but to find a way over, around, or through the wall.

It’s a great analogy for risk-taking and commitment.

It’s that moment when our commitment becomes cemented and turning back is no longer an option.

I hung a baseball cap on the For Sale sign as a personal reminder of the step we’re taking and where we’re at.

It’s a scary place to be.

It’s an exciting place to be.

It’s a good place.


Pray for us.

Curt Iles




One comment

  1. We will be praying for you. We will arrive back in Gillis around Oct. 12 for our 3 mos. at the end of our 3 year term. The plans are to do another 3 year term. If you have any questions we will be glad to talk with you by email or when we are home.

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