The term “Road Trip” immediately injects a vision of excitement and fun into an undertaking that often morphs into a mundane act of getting from here to there. When driving, we usually focus on where we were or where we are going. In the morning while driving to work we think about the challenges of today or about the family we left at home. When driving to Disneyland, we focus on Mickey Mouse and the Matterhorn; we are concerned with the destination (as we should be), the method to get there is generally unimportant. Although a road trip must have a starting and ending point (often the same place), the reason we get excited is because of the journey; it is the “getting to” part, not the here or there that produces a broad smile, and unleashes our inner world-explorer self. A road trip is about having fun with where we are at that moment in time, and less concerned about where we have been and where we will be. Often on a road trip there is not an established timetable, or schedule; you float from place to place absent the worry of being late.
Everyday life can be more rewarding too when we live in the moment, and not somewhere in the before or after.
Our road trip this summer started late, but since we had already established the trip was about the journey, we did not care. On the initial leg we headed north and east through the desert, and while some people find the desert beautiful and mysterious, I find rocks, cactus, and an occasional sad looking tree, boring and obvious. It was hot and dry outside, but the conversation inside the truck was lively and fun. When we finally turned north to find green rolling hills and winding deep blue rivers, our interest outside the car window increased tenfold; the conversation still remained bright.
Sometimes, in the beginning of a phase, or season in life, the view from our chair is not very pretty. The job (if we have one) isn’t what we want, or the family does not talk to each other very much, or the direction in our own life is not where we expected it to be. When you are in a desert, life can be very challenging. So don’t stay in the desert; keep moving until you get through it. These times of life are called seasons because they have a beginning and an end. Keep moving forward until you find the end of the desert.
The colors in the middle part of the journey were so intense, vivid and bright, that we had to keep reminding ourselves we were not in a video game; that this was reality. The green in the trees was deep and shouted life back at us. There were snow covered mountains that shot from the earth with an intensity we had never witnessed, like they knew heaven was within reach. We renamed a lake high in a mountain pass surrounded by a deep green forest, “The Lake with the bluest water we have ever seen.” Each turn in the road was met with held breath, as we were amazed, and amazed again. At one place, herds of Buffalo grazed on prairie grass less than 100 feet from our truck; massive gentle animals from a different period. This was a time of inspiration and beauty; of limitless dreams hatched with childlike innocence, where smiles are pure and tears are welcome. There are seasons in life where everything works in harmony; times where joy does not have to be pursued, but instead pursues you. Great days with cool nights, filled with family laughter, increased blessings and smooth sailing. Every family deserves a long period in this season, and many receive it with thanks. For some though, the season of prosperity is brief: we do not know why this is so – it just is. So be thankful for your blessings, no matter how much or how long they stay, because blessings are a gift from God, and the giver always chooses the gift.
The final part of our journey took us through vast changes in spectrum; small farms of corn and wheat anchored by a white cottage and a silvery grain bin, looking like an enormous thimble, contrasted to huge eastern cities with buildings that expanded beyond our ability to see or comprehend. We met good people who encouraged us on our journey, and helped make the trip special, and unique. Memories and bonds were formed that will outlast our mortal bodies. We knew the destination was near, and we were happy to find it, because the road trip would stand on its own as history, making the journey’s end a starting point for a new adventure. We also knew that absent each other, our road trip would have been just a drive to somewhere. The beauty we saw outside was made possible by the closeness inside the truck.
We are not meant to live life alone, but to be part of a family, through birth and through love, we are to join with others so to make all of us better. We should treat the people placed into our lives as individual gifts, specially selected to enhance our existence, and in turn, we are chosen to bring joy to others. Our need to give is to be directed outward; only then are we ready to receive more when it comes.
A road trip requires the ability to embrace a degree of risk, while also giving up control to the one who drives. We cannot control a vehicle from the passenger seat; we must trust the driver and then enjoy the ride. If God is your driver, He will know when to take the next turn; you will not get lost. Trust Him and He will add excitement and wonder to your life.