This summer my family went on road trip. We drove from Texas to California and back again. While on the road, admiring the beauty of God’s creation all around me, I started to see the many ways life can be compared to a road trip. Life’s road trip is filled with ups, downs, curves, and stretches of straight roads. Through it all it’s filled with the wonder and beauty of God’s creation all around us if we choose to see it.
While we were on the road we passed by a tragedy. A truck had been hit by a train, and was broken into two pieces. As the paramedics unloaded the gurney I spotted a few men standing together, and on the ground next to them was a man laying face down. I felt for this man’s family and said a prayer for them. Sometimes in life we experience tragedy, and feel as through we’ve been kicked in the gut. If we are not careful we can let these tragedies become our destination/become our identity. In these moments we have a choice to make; We can choose to build ourselves a house, unpack and forever live in these moments of tragedy, and let it become our identity or we can fight like hell to heal. Healing means being able to move beyond the pain of the tragedy in a healthy way. It does not mean, however, acting as though it never happened. It means not living as though life has stopped. As the saying goes, “Life moves on”. So when faced with life’s challenges, struggles or tragedies you can either fight like hell to heal and to move forward, or you can be dragged onward by “Life”. Personally, I think it’s easier to do what you must to heal and to move forward in life than to be dragged by it kicking and screaming. In the end it won’t be the challenges, struggles or tragedies we face in this life that will define us, it will be the way in which we choose to handle it that will.
Then there’s complacency, so seemingly safe, but it’s the place where being awake and a sleep merge. It’s where you shift into auto-pilot shrouded in haze, coasting through life unaware that the road ahead is about to change, and you’re about to receive a rude awakening. If we aren’t vigilant it can be easy to become complacent when the road ahead seems to be nothing but straight road for miles and miles. I witnessed this too on our road trip, as a car going the opposite direction as us drove up an embankment and then came crashing down the steep side back towards the road again getting stuck on the side of the road. This driver is very lucky they did not flip their vehicle. I can only assume this driver somehow feel asleep or passed out for some reason behind the wheel of their car. I hope they were unharmed by this experience. It is, however, a good example of what can happen when we become complacent: we can find ourselves off the road we have chosen, heading in a direction we do not want to go, and crashing into things as we seek to get back onto the right path again…many times feeling stuck in the process. Find ways to stay vigilant. Just because the road ahead may seem straight it doesn’t mean there aren’t adventures to be had along the way. It’s your road trip; you decide what adventurous stops to make along the way. Pick scenic routs to fill your journey with the beauty and awe of God’s great wondrous works.
Awe, but the destination…that sweet, sweet destination. That feeling of relaxation and ease you feel when you finally reach your destination. No more funky smelling hotels, grabbing lunch from gas stations, or waiting for an exit with a bathroom. You have finally arrived! Fun and adventure await you. For us it was spending some much needed time with family, and getting to chow-down on some fabulous food. We got to go swimming, and get some relaxation in. Our adventures included spending the day at both Disney parks (Disneyland and California Adventures), and going to the San Diego Sea World. Just as in life, not all went smoothly. I had some health issues going on before our trip, and thought they would go away, but didn’t. An ER trip later I found out that my gallbladder had decided to revolt against me. I would have to see my regular doctor when we got home. Just because we feel we have finally arrived does not mean that everything will go as smoothly as we think it should. Nor does it mean that it is our FINAL destination. It’s a season in our life meant to be enjoyed, adventures to be had, and lessons to be learned. Once this season comes to a close another adventurous season is on the horizon, and what a journey it will be. On our way home we decided to take a slight detour to see the Grand Canyon, and what a breathtaking sight it was. Take time to enjoy the journey. Take time for adventures and detours; it will be worth it. The journey may not always be smooth, but the difficulty will remind us just how strong we are. I got very sick on our last day of driving, and almost a week later my gallbladder was removed. Even though I will soon be able to resume my “normal” diet this was a wake-up call to me that changes in my diet need to be made. I’m now on a new adventure, and I’ve been called out by my gallbladder to a challenge to try and add new healthy foods to my diet. I know this will be a life-style change, and I also know my next adventure is on the horizon.