Time in Willow Creek: 11 months, 4 weeks
Kevin was a business man. He enjoyed what he did and was rewarded handsomely for it. The money was nice–really nice. But, it wasn’t what drove him. Naturally, over the years, he became used to a somewhat extravagant lifestyle. He enjoyed it. But, if one day all of it went away, and he found himself back in Bedrock Strait, contentment would still follow him. The man made the money; the money did not make the man. It’s what made it so easy to lavish Juliana with gifts and support her dreams.
Finding new ways to do good with his money was exhilarating. He had known people who also came from humble backgrounds and made it big. Many of them were ruined within a few years. Greed was such a horrible disease that quickly ate at their souls until there was nothing left. There were others who were ill-advised and made foolish mistakes through no fault of their own. In the past, there were times when he considered walking away from his high paying job to open a consulting business to help people–everyday people–make better decisions with their money. However, in all scenarios he could come up with, the financial investment and time commitment would end up being much higher than the outcome. Besides, if he were to do something like that, he couldn’t charge for it in good faith. Good advice was something he felt should be freely given.
There were plenty other ways he could make money. He often thought about those ways in the evenings during relaxing times at home. He would come home from work, change into his swimming shorts, sit on the edge of the pool, and gaze into the horizon and let his brain wander out of the box it had been in all day.
His goal was to never make more money, but he took his own advice and needed to diversify his income. His job was risky. It was a volatile, high pressure environment. He enjoyed the challenge, but he was always one bad tip away from being unemployed. One slip up could end it all. It happened every day all around him, and he knew he wasn’t above making those mistakes. He had investments outside of work that earned him a fairly decent wage. He played the stock market and had a few real estate investments. When it’s his turn to put his head on the chopping block, he would be fine with careful adjustment to his discretionary spending. However, he was a doer. He needed something to accomplish–a reason to leave home every day. There was nothing to do with investments except give money and wait for more money to come. His mind often drifted to the future, and he wondered what retirement would be like. Would he be that guy who retired eight times, and his wife begged him to promise not to go back to work? That idea made him laugh.
In those times of thought with his feet in the water and eyes fixed on nothing in particular, he tried to think of the perfect idea. If he was going to end a successful career, he didn’t want to begin another one only to have it fade too. He wanted something he could control. Something tangible that gave him great pleasure. It didn’t even need to generate much income. His intellect had gotten him thus far. Now it was time for him to find something he could pour his heart into. Those were the toughest ideas to come up with.
The problem was not coming up with ideas because he had plenty of them. But, none of them were right. Well, they were all right in practice, and they would totally succeed and people near and far would be blessed by them. He wanted that one idea that made him feel warm inside. The one that made him smile at random times. The unshakable, absolutely perfect idea to shame all other ideas. Year after year, he waited for that idea to come. In the meantime, every now and then, he would implement one of the other ideas that didn’t excite him as much just to fill the space in his heart. They did their jobs, but ultimately they would fall by the wayside.
One particular night, he was by the pool combing over his life in search of a clue that would lead him to the chief idea. During these times of thought, he tried very hard to stay focused and not let his mind drift to other things. However, this night he could not focus. A recent conversation he had with a friend kept coming to mind. He tried to ward it away, but it wouldn’t leave. Before he admitted defeat of another evening gone bust, he let the memory playback in its entirety. After a few moments, something quickened inside of him, and he gasped. Then the warmth came.
And then, the smile.
This is perfect! She’s totally gonna love it.