Over The Long And
There’s a lot to learn from your journey if you pay attention
By Derick Turner
Do you remember the first time you went on a road trip as a child? Perhaps it was to grandmothers house, or a family reunion. Maybe it was that long awaited trip to the Grand Canyon or the Florida Coast.
Wherever it was, you likely recall the anticipation going to bed the night before. You could hardly sleep, imagining all the fun things you were going to do.
The next day you woke up, eager to get started. You may have picked out a special treat at the store with your mom. You may have planned the perfect song list with your dad.
With the bags tucked away and seat belts checked you were off on your long awaited adventure.
And long it was.
You quickly realized that a road trip is much more road than your young mind could ever have anticipated.
Before long you utter those infamous words that every parent dreads, and every child seems to biologically have imprinted in their mind…
“Are we there yet?”
“There” is not really the point
I was reminded of this time honored proclamation this afternoon as my wife and I packed up our six children and headed for our first family trip together since blending our families late last summer.
Surprisingly, the first “Are we there yet?” came much later down the road than expected. It was our 14 year old, and even it was in a semi joking query that came well over half way to our destination.
With each subsequent repetition, we provided the appropriate “We’ll get there when we get there” type of answers we learned from our own parents, and encouraged the children to enjoy the scenery all around them. We were, after all, in some of the most beautiful country ever created. How could they not appreciate it?
My mind was instantly drawn back to my own youthful interrogatives as the fun road trips I looked forward to always seemed to drag on and on.
As our packed van rolled along, my mind recalled my own similarly posed questions directed upward towards heaven over the past few years. My life had been a figurative road trip between my divorce and this new marriage, and there were many times I was like a weary child asking how much longer it was going to last.
How often had I knelt in prayer, asking time and time again how much longer I was going to have to suffer this road before I found a sense of normalcy again? I know my invocations far exceeded the number our children collectively asked on our drive today.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we would admit that we too often spend our time wondering when we’re going to get to some imagined destination we believe to be better than where we are or have been, ignoring the beauty of the world passing all around us.
The journey is as valuable as the destination
It’s not always easy to see that sometimes we are exactly where we are supposed to be. When where we are is not where we want, that is all the more difficult.
I’m not going to try telling you life is fair, or that you should be grateful for all your trials, but I am going to advocate looking for the positive as often as possible.
Life is sometimes challenging, and it can be downright difficult to find joy in the journey, but that is part of what this life is all about.
If we only look for and acknowledge the negatives, we are going to find that we seem to always experience negative. That’s not just my opinion, that is an eternal truth. You become what you think about.
For us to ever overcome our trials, we need to be willing to let go of the tempting craving to find company in misery. You need not be miserable. You may be experiencing misery, but you can choose to not be miserable.
In fact, what may feel like nothing but misery and trial may have some incredibly valuable fruit to bear.
Like the seemingly long and endless road trip, without the drive you would never get to that magical destination.
No memories would be made fishing with grandpa or making cinnamon rolls with grandma without that long drive.
You would never have the experience, wisdom, hindsight, and perspective you now have without the bumpy and sometimes tedious life you’ve lived.
Did you know that in the approximately 130 miles from the Utah border that it takes to reach Steamboat Springs, Colorado you pass at least 6 scenic points of interest?
I know this now, because as we made our way across the incredible rolling hills of northwest Colorado this afternoon I counted them.
(Interestingly, this pales in comparison to the few dozen handmade signs placed strategically and effectively by F M Light & Sons along that same path. Quality western wear anyone?)
I was blown away by the mesmerizing painting that presented itself to us as we traversed this majestic piece of heaven on our road trip this afternoon. The clouds seemed to be strategically placed in billowing bunches as far as the eye could see, perfectly framing the green, tumbling hills that stretched on forever.
Surely this is the paradise sought by the many westward dreamers who staked their claim to freedom so long ago, making this amazing country what it is today.
How sad I would have been to have missed it.
Unfortunately, we so often do miss the scenery laid out before us as we rush on towards our futures.
We don’t realize the road taking us there is as meaningful and significant in our lives as the destination.
The scenic byways of our lives are as much a part of our stories as the camping trips, national parks, or any other favorite childhood memory we’ll ever have.
Learn that, and you’ll find that the road trips of your life are so much more amazing than you ever could have realized.
There truly is joy in the journey, if you’ll just relax, and look around to see it.