A photo of Ben wearing a wide-brimmed hat standing next to a sign in the woods

I really need a better photo.

Ben has everything he’s ever wanted—a decent job (work from home), a nice house (not too big), a wonderful wife (who loves Star Trek), and four amazing children. He’s even recently acquired a pickup truck (very old), a full-suspension mountain bike (which has tried to kill him), and a beautiful tenor saxophone (it’s red!). Yes, he has pretty much everything he’s ever wanted.

Ben’s kids all have physical and/or mental health problems, some of which are very expensive, and most of which are baffling to all the doctors in town. His wife suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that has already stolen away her ability to run and is threatening the hiking that she and Ben love so much. And Ben’s job writing manuals for a company that makes cars, trucks, and tractors drive by themselves is often frustrating and unfulfilling.

Yes, Ben has it all—or so he thinks. He’s undoubtedly about to face something new that is both agonizing and exhilarating, because that’s just how life is.

That’s my story. Maybe it sounds familiar, a little like yours? Whatever the differences between our stories, we may have a lot in common. So I hope you’ll read and relate to my made-up stories. Some of my best teachers have been the made-up stories of strangers. It’s nice to share the road awhile and maybe make a new friend.