Road Trip!

OK, you're standing in the driveway waiting.  Your best friend is running late (again) and you were supposed to hit the road 20 minutes ago.  You've got a 6 hour drive ahead of you and this is cutting into time you could be spending at your final destination.  You were excited an hour ago, and now you're just pissed.

The BF arrives, you're cranky, and the first hour of the trip is awkward because you're taking a stand and making it awkward.  Maybe a favorite song comes on or a car passes with a funny bumper sticker.  You sing loudly or laugh loudly, and gradually the ice melts away.  You're friends again, the trip isn't a bust, but still, you just want to get there.

Now consider that same trip.  You're standing in the driveway waiting for your late companion, you're irritated for the first hour, and an hour into the trip you begin to enjoy the ride.  Consider all of that, but you are on at trip without a destination.  You were irritated for what?  You missed the first hour over something petty.  What's the point of getting in the car if you're really not going anywhere?  Why waste valuable energy and resources on a journey with no endpoint?

What if the journey itself is the point?

Sometimes I listen to the words escaping my lips, and I cringe.  "I can't wait until Alexandria goes to preschool."  "I'm so ready for Marcus to be done with his heart medication."  "I really wish my work schedule was different."

Each of those statements, along with the myriad of others stemming from a host of different endpoints, reflect my inability to enjoy where I am.  I'm so preoccupied with getting where I'm going, or where I want to be, and even how badly I wish I was already there, that I'm missing the scenery along the way.  What if my life experience is about learning the joy of Alexandria being at home with me?  What if the challenge of administering multiple doses of medication is supposed to make me stronger, or more sympathetic, or more organized?  Perhaps a different work schedule would not be as ideal as the schedule I work now.  Maybe those endpoints are not the point of it all.

I'll consider then, that those endpoints are not real destinations in my life.  For once I arrive, a new, different journey inevitably begins.  Something unforseen, something challenging.  My life may be punctuated by project completions, milestones, and sudden changes, but for the most part, I live in the in-between.  I'm perpetually in transition.  As my pastor put it so well, "We're never going to get rid of those ants once and for all."  My kids continue to grow and change.  Marcus continues to heal, even after nearly a year.  I continue working.  I've become so interested in getting to where I'm supposed to be that I miss the bulk of experience in getting there.

This is my life.  This is how it's happening.  The pages of my book fill with the stories of my days, and all I can think about is how the chapter should end.  What a waste!

So last night when Marcus woke up at 12:30 a.m. screaming from what I'm convinced will be diagnosed as an ear infection, I started to practice my change in perception.  Instead of lamenting today's inevitable exhaustion, I took the opportunity to enjoy being the person I was chosen to be in Marcus's life.  I got to spend four hours holding this little boy who is on the brink of outgrowing my strength.  I relished in the pleasure of sitting in the rocking chair with him, feeling him relax as he rested his head above my heart.  I stopped looking at the clock, and instead kept my eyes fixed on him.  My heart broke that he experienced pain, but life happened for him like that, and I wasn't going to wish for something that was impossible.  Last night, I took the first step in learning to enjoy a journey with no endpoint.

I'm going to catch myself from now on.  Before I mutter utterances that begin with, "I wish" or "I hope" or "I can't wait until," I'll shut my mouth, consider my thought, and say simply, "This moment is my life.  I'm blessed for this experience."

For right now, I'm in the car, and the drive is beautiful.  (Although it's probably not smart to be behind the wheel with 3 hours sleep.  Again, I'm being realistic.)