I was at my second airport of the morning, heading to my next departure gate. This was going to be a long day of travel.
Most people we saw looked tired or stressed as they speed-walked between gates.
This young girl was holding her dad’s hand, skipping and carrying on an animated conversation. She was obviously happy and excited. I watched her tug on her dad’s arm to get his full attention. Once eye contact was made, he was rewarded with a huge smile.
Out of the thousands of people we saw in four airports and sixteen hours of travel, this young girl is the one I remember. Maybe it’s because I saw so few smiles that day.
The excitement of travel and new adventures is lost on most of us. We tend to set our sights on our final destination and forget to enjoy what is between point A and point B. The joy of the actual journey is nowhere to be found.
In travel and in life I am often guilty of this. Distractions that slow me down are seen as inconveniences and not as pleasant diversions. Unfortunately, this means my enthusiasm for everyday life is sadly lacking.
I hope the memory of the young girl in the airport stays with me to remind me to experience joy in my journey.
On our recent drive from Calgary to Vancouver, we encountered many areas with road work in progress. Signage informed us of the upcoming disruption, often with the words, “Construction ahead, expect delays.”
To allow for the unknown conditions ahead of us, extra time was built into our travel schedule. We were fortunate that many of the delays on this trip were minimal.
Although delays seem to be an inevitable part of travel, do I build the same flexibility into my life? How big a disruption is caused by unexpected events?
To quote a well-known song written by Canadian musician Tom Cochrane, “Life is a highway.” Let me tell you how I relate to this sentiment.
In this journey of life, I encounter accidents or situations that cause damage, both physical and mental. Necessary repairs may require rest and restoration. This unknown is not anything I can plan for.
I am also slowed down by necessary maintenance. The less time I devote to this now, the more time will be needed later.
In my younger years, these delays were inconvenient and caused upset as I wasn’t reaching my destination (goals) on the schedule I’d set out. The resulting stress often compounded my setback.
Now I am learning to look at the delays and detours as opportunities. They take me to places I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced. When I choose to pay attention, there is much to be learned in the pauses of life. They may be there for an important reason.
This is the position I find myself currently in. My priorities are shifting and I am no longer in a rush. Diversions provide some interesting experiences. The pauses restore and refresh. I am still under construction and am determined to enjoy the scenery on this ride!
Have you heard the saying, “Somebody pinch me so I know I’m not dreaming”? That is exactly how I felt.
My husband and I had a long time dream and were about to make it happen. The time for saying, “One day we’d like to” had come to an end.
Too many times we have let opportunities pass us by. This time we weren’t going to look back in regret, wondering what it would have been like.
Plans were set in motion and initial preparations were started. We told others about our plans. It surprised us to hear how many people wanted to do the same. Not only were we going after our dream, we would also be living that of many others as well.
We packed up Vanessa, our 1996 travel van and headed across Canada.
Intentionally, we kept our schedule flexible. We had a rough idea of timing for some areas and commitments for specific dates in others. For the most part, we were free to go where the wind, or whim, took us.
Nine weeks and over 16,000 km on the road in a camper van was certainly the adventure of a lifetime for us. We witnessed firsthand the diverse beauty of our country. We were inspired by people we met. We overcame challenges and shared frustrations and laughter.
I learned to be content in a small space. I enjoyed not knowing what we might see during the day or where we would stop for the night. Having our food and accommodation with us gave us incredible flexibility. I am convinced this trip helped me to embrace a spontaneity that had been hidden for far too long. That in itself was a gift.
Now instead of saying, “One day” we have amazing memories of pursuing our dream and turning it into a dream come true.
It had been an incredible travel adventure. Our trip was much more than we had imagined or hoped for.
Now, after almost eight weeks on the road, it was time to start the long drive home. As soon as our van was headed west again, I just wanted to get home. And get there as soon as possible. I was anxious to return to the comfort and familiarity of my family and my permanent address.
One day before we were to arrive home, the conflict set in. Although I wanted to be home, maybe I wasn’t quite ready. There was still so much to see and do. I was weary of the travel yet not quite willing to give it up.
This change in attitude was confusing me. How could I reconcile my mind being pulled in two opposite directions?
On the radio came a song that spoke about resting in heaven when our work on earth is done. My conflict made sense when I could relate travel to my life on earth and going home to eternal rest and peace in heaven.
I wonder if I will experience any of this same conflict when that day comes to say goodbye to loved ones and enter my heavenly home. Will I feel ready to leave everything and everyone I know?
With only a few hours to go, I received a message from my son, asking if we would make it home that day. As soon as I read it, the earlier conflict disappeared. All I wanted was to see and hug my family.
I’m sure it will be the same when God’s son, Jesus, calls me home. There will be no hesitation as I hurry into His open arms.
“When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:3 NLT)
The area we stopped in for the night was under a heavy rainfall advisory.
The forecast for the areas we’d be traveling in over the next couple of days didn’t look good so we decided an early start in the morning would be our best option for getting ahead of the weather.
Long before daylight we were on the road again. An hour later, we came to a complete standstill. All we could see in the darkness was a long line of tail lights ahead of us.
We turned the motor off and waited for things to start moving again. The night faded into morning light. A cold wind permiated the van and we got blankets from the back to wrap around us.
When we heard a washout had occurred ahead, we knew we could be there for hours. Since there was nothing we could do but wait, we decided to make ourselves comfortable. We moved to the back of the van, turned the furnace on and relaxed. After playing a couple of games of cribbage we made lunch.
Instead of stressing about the delay, I wondered what God was protecting us from by holding us back. We were safe, warm and had food, water and a bathroom so knew He was taking care of us. Later we learned of jackknifed semis and multiple accidents due to icy roads.
Almost five hours later a police car came by to announce the road was open to one lane traffic and we could proceed. I was surprised to find that the actual washout was 140 km from where we had been stopped.
This situation reminded me how God uses what I think of as delays in my life. He provides what I need to stay safe while He works to clear the road in front of me. Sometimes the work is done much farther ahead than I realize.
My role is to be patient and trust that God has everything under control.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and lean not on your own understanding ” Proverbs 3:5 NLT
Do you ever doubt where your GPS is taking you? My husband and I were in that situation recently. An incident on our route caused us to change direction. We wondered where it was taking us as we encountered twists and turns and seemed to be going in the wrong direction. It was so easy to get turned around and lose our way.
This was only one of several times we doubted where we were being taken. Sometimes the route took us off of the major highways and along bumpy side roads. We complained bitterly that this couldn’t be right. Where were the smooth roads we thought we’d be taking?
Farther on, we may discover why this was the case, while other times we were left wondering. What I do know is that we discovered some beautiful scenery on these roads less travelled. Things we would not have seen or experienced otherwise. Maybe that was reason enough.
Life is like that. Everything seems to be going along smoothly and then I have an unexpected detour. I find myself on a bumpy road and lose my sense of direction. Confused, I cry out to God, “Why is this happening? Where are you taking me?”
These are not the right questions. I know from experience the Lord is faithful. Everything I go through has a purpose. So, when I find myself thrown off course, the better question to ask is, “How can this be used to bring God glory?”
On our travels this summer, my husband and I passed a street sign for Yellow Brick Road. When I pointed it out, he asked if we should see where it led. I quickly assessed the distance we still needed to travel that day before saying, “No.”
My phone was charging so I wasn’t even able to take a picture of the sign.
For days afterward I was upset with myself. If I learned anything from the movie, The Wizard of Oz, it was to follow the yellow brick road!
I had the chance but didn’t take it. We were far from home and not going to be passing that way again so the opportunity was forever lost.
i wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed because I was focused on somewhere else I thought I needed to be. The only way I can create value in this is to be aware of and willing to follow the roads that are of interest to me. Who knows what adventures I may find?
Now I ask you to please do me a favour. If you are in the vicinity of Thunder Bay, Ontario and see the sign for Yellow Brick Road, please follow it and let me know where it took you.