“I’m going to marry someone who will stop and play in the snow,” our pre-teen daughter announced from the back seat years ago as we were crossing winter-white mountains on our way to a family Christmas. But the objective of her father was to reach our destination safely and in good time. (Particularly in good time.)
What if the goal of an extended drive could also be about making memories? About stretching our legs and throwing snowballs at each other, even if for only 10 minutes. Or stopping for ice cream cones? What’s the worst that could happen? We’d reach our destination 10-15 minutes later.
I think this principle applies to life, as well as the long miles. For example, my first husband and I were frugal and careful with our finances. Which is a good thing.
But we only dated each other on Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and birthdays. And we rarely spent money on the un-necessities of life—like an Alaskan cruise. (We had saved to go on a cruise for our 25th anniversary, and almost cancelled because we needed a new computer at the time.) This is not a good thing.
And then cancer showed up and said, “Maybe you ought to make some epic memories while you still have life.” And I suspect cancer dictated this same message to Dan, my now-husband who lost his first wife to cancer.
Why does it have to take something like cancer to slow us down enough to enjoy the journey?
Right after we were married, Dan and I made a whirlwind trip to visit family in Northern California before heading up the Oregon coast on a loop back home.
Along the way, we wandered through the redwoods (and maybe hugged a tree or two because after all, we’re Oregonians).
We spontaneously purchased a kite and attempted to launch it on a windless Pacific Northwest beach, running and laughing because the kite refused to soar.
Delicious seafood. A room overlooking the ocean. A surprise stop on the way home to disrupt the grandkids’ online school day (because this is what grandparents get to do).
When you think about it, long road trips sliced into leg-stretching, ice-cream-licking, kite-flying, or snowball-throwing escapades makes the journey so much more enjoyable.
Some expanses of life’s journey are sweet. And some are unbearably heart-rending. But what if we make memories, and stretch our legs, and find the perfect kite, and feel the sand on our bare feet? Would that bring a bit more joy as we allow God to shape us through the hard places?
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.James 1:12
Be still and know that I am God.Psalm 46:10
The original Hebrew for “still” is raphah, and can be translated, “sink down, relax, let go, cease striving.” Much of Psalm 46 was written in war language and was likely penned during a time of conflict.
This verse isn’t so much about being quiet as it is about laying down one’s weapons, letting go of trying to control, and resting in our vast God, even if we don’t understand why this hard place. Even if we can’t see how the story ends. Even if we’re feeling forgotten.
Be still. Let go. Persevere under trial. Cease striving to have things go our way. Would this be the equivalent to taking the scenic route and enjoying moments along this challenging road?
I’m thinking Yes.