Sunday, December 20, 2009

Are We There Yet?

I'm going to spend most of today in a car. My husband and I are making a 12-hour, 700-mile trip across several states as we travel to my hometown. I've made this trip many times before, and I know how interminable it can seem as I'm rolling through the seemingly endless expanses of Indiana. Sometimes I wonder if I'll be stuck in the car forever. Just like a little kid, I hear myself thinking, "Are we there yet?" The answer to that question will be 'no' for a long time before it finally becomes 'yes'. Twelve hours is, after all, a pretty long time.

I've been on many different kinds of journeys in my lifetime. I've taken plane rides and bus ride and car rides to distant and not-so-distant places. I've been on journeys of self-discovery and maturation. I've traveled the path of education and spend four years navigating the winding streets of intellectual and social growth in college. I've been on small and sometimes inconsequential voyages that lasted a single day, struggling to complete myriad tasks and collapsing into bed in relief when I reached the destination of day's end. In so many of these cases, I've noticed that my goal can seem like a mirage on the horizon, tantalizingly visible but seemingly impossible to reach. Goals seem like they will never be achieved, and the journey itself feels endless.

I've developed some strategies to help keep myself from feeling so impatient along the way. I've realized that obsessing about my destination and how far away it seems just makes the trip seem longer. I need other things to think about, other tasks to do along the way so I don't feel like I'm just sitting and waiting for the minutes to tick by. Waiting is an uncomfortable necessity in life, but it doesn't seem so bad if I'm doing something else too. On trips I like to listen to music or have interesting conversations with my traveling companions. When I'm working on long projects in life, I like to throw in some smaller tasks along the way so that I can feel like I'm getting something accomplished even if the main project takes a long time to complete. As I move through stages of my life, I like to try to focus on the small everyday things that I'm doing instead of thinking about how long it's taking my life to change into what I want it to become. There's more to life than waiting.

Today doesn't have to just be about suffering through a 12-hour car ride. First of all, I have the really nice opportunity to be with my husband for 12 hours. It's been a busy semester for him, and we haven't actually had all that much time to spend together the last couple of months. This doesn't just have to be a long, boring car trip—it can be a chance for me to catch up with my husband and talk about interesting things. It can also be a chance for us to kick back and sing along with our favorite Christmas songs. I can enjoy this time with my husband instead of resenting the time stuck in the car. When I find myself thinking, "Are we there yet?" I can challenge myself to find something more productive or fun to do instead. I could pray. I could brainstorm blog topics. I could even daydream. I could put in that album I love that I haven't listened to in a long time. I could call old friends and say hello. I could look out the window and try to discover new things about the world around me.

The same is true for the rest of my life. Whenever I find myself getting impatient, I should try to deflect my thoughts to something else. I have to realize that I'm never just waiting for something to happen. My life is many threads all woven together, and if one line in my life is stalled, there are many others with which I can occupy myself. That dreadfully slow journey from the back of the line to the front at the Post Office or the grocery store could be a chance to check in with God, to organize my thoughts, or to think of something nice that I could do for someone. That long interval between the beginning of my husband's graduate program and his graduation is a chance for us to learn things about ourselves, to grow and develop as adults, and to prepare for the future. When it gets down to it, my whole life is a journey from birth to eternity, and there's certainly plenty left for me to do between now and the day I meet Jesus in heaven. Some of the trips in my life are long, but if I have an open mind and heart, I will always find things to do along the way until I reach my destination.

No comments:

Christian Love Lessons - Free Blogger Templates - by Templates para novo blogger