Sometimes a journey doesn’t need a destination

We all reach a time when we’re no longer happy where we are. For some it’s just a matter of restlessness, others have grown to a point they need a new challenge, and occasionally it’s just about becoming so uncomfortable where you are that the unknown holds more hope than your present reality. For some of us lucky ones, we’re hit with all three of these motivations.

I come from a family of restless people. My dad grew up in the mission field, so standing still is a relatively new concept for him. My mom grew up in one place and I think had stood still for too long. So I grew up moving around, but never fully understanding the reasonings behind the decisions.

For the most part, I just experienced the consequences of moving, good or bad. I learned how to make new friends. And I learned that friendship isn’t forever, so you have to enjoy every drop of it while you can. I learned that being somewhere new doesn’t mean you’re alone as long as you’re with family. Treating where you live as if you’re just passing through allows you to live like a tourist in your own town. There’s no expectation of “well, next year I’ll check out that festival” because you really never expect to be there next year.

There were definitely some things I missed out on learning though. I’m not that good at fighting for my friendships or making them work long-term. I don’t really know how to settle down without the expectation of leaving. I’m not going to say I learned to run away from my problems, but I did learn that problems stick with you as long as you’re holding on to them.

But now that I’m on the side of making the decisions about whether or not to move, I find there’s so much going on behind the scenes, and I don’t even have kids to worry about (oh, my poor parents). For once in my life I’m seeing the value of hitting the open road. And maybe what’s really important is the change, not necessarily what’s at the end of the map. I’ve learned today, that sometimes just getting in the car is the step that needs to take place.

I have no fear of the destination, or lack thereof. Every city has amazing places to visit, every church has some incredible lessons to teach you. An office will always come with some fun new challenges and some frustrations. And friends can be made anywhere. Every destination is a good destination. And every journey ends somewhere.

Day 2: Enjoy the drive home

Some days are not terrible, but not the greatest either. Ok, maybe most days are like that. It’s actually pretty rare to get one of those “amazing” days. That’s not to say that the other normal days aren’t worth it, in fact those are the days that make up the grand majority of life. So be prepared for extremely normal posts 87% of the time.
Today I went into work for a few hours to make up for some lost time this week. It’s normally my day off, but I’d rather spend my built up vacation hours on a vacation. Crazy talk, I know. On my drive home, I had two scary experiences. First, a car tried passing me on the shoulder, which didn’t go well for them. I, being the patient and caring person I am, sped up so there wasn’t room to cut in front of me. Kids, don’t try this at home. The driver slowed down and pulled in close behind me, and just as we were going under an overpass, his tire blew. Not just a flat tire type of deal, but a loud, reverberating blow. And while I was watching the driver in my rearview mirror pull over to the shoulder, the car next to me decided he wanted to be in my lane, exactly where I was. Whether I was in his blind spot, or he was a jerk, I’ll never know. But he certainly “didn’t hear” my horn as I warned him of my existence. Thankfully I have fabulous braking skills. Now, no my daily lesson has nothing to do with driving. Although I’m sure I still have plenty to learn in that area as well.
Day 2: Appreciate the safe drive home. Very rarely as I leave my home does it occur to me that I might not make it back. It’s easy to celebrate when you survive an accident, but why not celebrate when nothing happens! What’s wrong with thousands of days of celebrating “I made it home safely!” Sure, staying safe is the norm, and accidents are the exception, but what a great norm! So tomorrow when I make it home again, it’s time to jump for joy that it’s a normal day. 

Hold on Tight

Life has its ups and downs. We’ve all lived it, a few days where nothing can go wrong, then a week of “blah.” Maybe there were a few months of horrible then a scattered sprinkling of hopeful possibilities. Of course the moments that we deem worthy of sharing of the good ones, the great ones for those of us that don’t share as often. I may choose not to share online every time I have a bill to pay and I’m not sure where the money will come from or every time I have a low-grade fever. The big lows we may share, being in the hospital, a car accident, etc. But does that make them more worthy in our life?

A full life is not made of Facebookable moments, but rather of life in all its glory. We need those highlights, those marking moments to keep on our horizon to keep us from getting sea sick during life’s normal ups and downs. Maybe you’ve had less of those “amazing” moments, that doesn’t mean you lived any less. Soak in those ridiculously simple moments, bask in the glory of your trip to the grocery store or feel as bored as the moment demands.

What makes you feel alive? I’ve come to realize that life, much like love, is a choice and not merely an emotion. Oh yes, there is emotion involved. But you love because you choose to love. And likewise we keep living even when sometime the emotion of “feeling alive” isn’t present. Sometimes living is an act of faith, faith that things will get better, that the flat moments will somehow lead to new highs, that the low moments will once again be followed by the slow climb up.

Sometimes our only hope is to hold on tight to the life we have, stay in the car and hope that’s enough.