Like a Rolling Stone

July 23, 2021
Like a rolling stone in the Columbia River Basin

Our property manager texted us last night stating two rental applications have been submitted for our home. In a few days we will be officially homeless, like a rolling stone.

Six months ago we were deciding whether to put our kiddos back in the local public school, or to keep homeschooling them and have Monica leave her job. It was a frustrating moment in time. Ultimately we didn’t trust the local schools to give them a quality education, and we were willing to sacrifice the money (and Monica’s sanity) to protect them from the radicals and fools that run the district.

Around the same time we learned about the VA Travel Nurse Corps and began to fantasize about living full-time on the road. We felt compelled to purchase a larger motorhome, a story of its own.

Six moths later we are in Hot Springs, South Dakota, living in the motorhome, catching our breath.

Like a rolling stone in Wyoming
Wait… What?

The past four months have been a trying frenzy of home repairs, yard work, packing, and preparations. We have learned that downsizing from a 3500 sq. ft. home to a 40′ motorhome is an agenda for the impetuous and the ridiculous. Nonetheless, we’ve felt compelled to press forward into the unknown, laboring day by day, having faith a job would become available.

We have left behind our family, church friends and co-workers. This process of packing up, saying goodbyes, and leaving town has presented a funny and unfortunate situation: Having others profess their grief over the very thing that brings you joy. Kind of like laughing at your own funeral. At times we’ve felt like jerks, shoving off, leaving everyone to their crappy schools.

It was an odd, drawn-out exit. Honestly, it couldn’t arrive fast enough.

Dropping Shade

Like a rolling stone, we pulled out of the driveway on a Thursday afternoon.

Then the strangest thing happened.

The motorhome has a black-out shade above the front windshield that can drop down for privacy. We knew when we purchased the coach that the shade had a funny quirk — the switch would only move the shade one inch at a time, rather than dropping all the way down if the switch were held. This forced us to click the switch over and over to move the shade down, inch by inch, over the course of about two minutes.

Camping World looked at it, even tried to replace it with another shade. They made it worse. Needless to say, the shade has never worked properly, not one single time.

So it seemed a little peculiar that before the back tires of the motorhome could hit the blacktop, the shade not only worked for the very first time, but did so while I was driving across oncoming traffic (which it should not do). With a steady motor hum, the shade dropped the full length of the windshield, blacking out everything from view. I’m sure you could picture the surprise and panic on your own face if this were to happen to you while arcing your busload of children across the (often) busy road.

How come our shade decided to work FOR THE FIRST TIME at that particular moment? While no one was pushing the button? What the heck?! But the beauty of the human condition is we can assign meaning to anything we like, no matter how reasonable or psychotic we may present in doing so.

We are flying blind. Not all the time (at least hopefully). But at times we will not know what comes next. It might be scary. Clearly, it will be scary.

While we’re working in South Dakota at this moment, on October 16th we have no idea where we will be headed. We will have limited choices in a few months and Heavenly Father will help us to make them.

Like a rolling stone in Western Montana
A filthy windshield view in Western Montana

Somewhere in Western Montana I slipped a Bob Dylan disc into the CD player and found myself singing along to these lyrics:

How does it feel, how does it feel?
To be on your own, with no direction home
A complete unknown, like a rolling stone

Well, how does it feel, Ryan?

I gotta say… it feels pretty great!

No Need to Get Salty

As I pulled out of the driveway and drove to the stoplight four blocks away, I realized I had not looked back at our home upon leaving. A simple 90 degree head turn would have done it, but the thought never crossed my mind. In departure, there was not one lingering thought of nostalgia. No longing, forlorn, wistful pension, regret, uncertainty, or anything else in that vein. When I realized this, my mind immediately recalled Lot’s wife, looking back at Sodom, reluctant to leave it all behind.

She wasn’t willing to be led to a better place, a place of safety, without fear and regret. The uncertainty was too much for her, and she lacked the faith to trust in the Lord.

The Hoffmann family may be a lot of things — awkward, for one — but we are willing to make leaps of faith.

Like a rolling stone

As we roll our massive house on wheels around the USA for the next <insert undetermined amount of time here>, I hope we will never forget that we aren’t in control. That all of this is for our benefit. That our children will be better citizens and humans for it.

And that against all odds, and all reason, the shade can drop at any moment.

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