A couple of weeks ago, our family took a trip to Seattle to visit the Aquarium….at least, this is what we ended up doing. It’s funny how a day can be planned in our minds but we see things come to pass so differently. Life is a lot like that too. We have our plans and our hopes and expectations. Sometimes we are disappointed and sometimes we have amazing and delightful surprises. As many people have learned throughout the entire history of family road trips, there is almost infinite potential for disaster, carsickness, hurt feelings, lost tempers, “no fair”, and the dreaded “I’m-not-touching-you” game. (Sibling rivalry has been around a LONG time. Remember Cain and Abel? )
When we’re little, we have some idea of what we want to do with our lives when we are “all grown up”. We always imagine ourselves happy, with lots of money, plenty of friends, and the ability to do fun and amazing things whenever we want. The trick is that we somehow fail to see that we can be the biggest obstacle to this becoming reality. We get in the way of our own dreams more than anyone else ever has or ever will. One reason for this is fear. It’s a big, scary world, after all. We remember so many times before when things didn’t turn out the way we wanted. We can recall the hurts, the wounds, the feeling of loss, the humiliation. We would do just about anything to avoid ever having to go through that again. So we avoid situations, people, memories of the past, events of the present, and plans for the future. What are we left with but a dark, stinky cave (and PHEW, by the way, open a window already). We are all alone with our fears.
That doesn’t have to be the end for us. Things can be different. Each breath is a choice. God makes a choice to give us another chance, and another chance, and another…..inhale, exhale….and another chance…inhale. The future is not written in stone (or dried on Cream of Wheat, which may be more permanent) and as long as there’s life, there’s hope.
So what did we do with ourselves in Seattle with a crew of 5 kids, ages toddler to teen, in tow? We decided to invest some time in making memories with our kids, and enjoy one another for the good part of the day. It was one of the best times I have had in a long time. It was a really lovely day. Yes, there were little quarrels and the kids pushed a few buttons, but we all came together as a family, which is what family trips are all about, in the end.