Walden 2010: Surprised?

In celebration of the five year anniversary of my experience in living out of my car, I am posting a series of journal entries never before revealed. The hope of my Walden series is to share both a journey and a story of my attempts to live and find a real and living God. I hope the snippets entertain and inspire you as much as my experience of them has entertained and inspired me.

Car Blog entry 3…

“What!” His voice was high, like it got when he hears something ridiculous. “Well then you had better just get up and drive—not live in your car.” My father so rarely scolded me in my life, it sounded unnatural. This was the point where I’m supposed to feel bad for doing something so preposterous that even he scolds me. It bothers me some that I don’t feel much at all.

“It’s not just that,” I said leaning on the phone next to my ear against the car door. But what was it? There is that nagging feeling again. I call it singularity—the sense that I am truly the only one of my kind in this world. How can I be so young and understand that I am so far apart from these times and generations? It’s a nameless longing—this love of adventure, this hunger for life and life abundantly. How do I explain this to a world that looks on in a strange sense of confusion?



I have grown used to my father not really understanding what I’m doing or why I’m doing it. I would say that the best part of my father is that while he doesn’t understand what I’m doing, and maybe even, disagrees with what I’m doing, he trusts me to not mess up on a catastrophic level. This trust, to me, is the deepest sign of respect that he could give me, and it instills in me a fear to not disappoint him in his expectations. I had considered not telling him at all, it would certainly be easier. However, along with actually living my life, I believe in not doing things for which I am ashamed. If I have to hide that I’m living in my car than why am I doing it?

It does, however, take away some of the appeal. Let me explain:

Some of the best experiences are the ones you can only share with yourself. After a year of trying to learn to be okay with relying on other people for a change, I want a chance to have something within myself that is still a mystery to the world. And maybe I’m short changing the depth of identity. Perhaps it is who I am and my faith in Jesus Christ which will drive the mystery on and on, but I want more. There is a song which says:

“These are just placebos to make us feel all right: Illusions in our pockets make our feather float us high. For a second I thought I saw your eyelids rise, for a moment, something restless caught you by surprise, surprise…”–Jars of Clay

I want my life to be a statement which catches the world by surprise.

There are a few people I know who, if I could, I would ask “Did I catch you by surprise? Did I make you think about your life? Did it make you want to wake up?” These, I feel, are the same questions which God, I suppose, is asking of me. “Did I catch you by surprise?” I am always looking for the next surprise. I find it in hardship, as I have said before. But don’t you think that’s the best kind of surprise…a challenge?


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