It’s Sunday night. We’re packing bags and finding lost things and preparing for the journey back to Pennsylvania. There’s a football game on in the background. No matter how many times we tell the kids to go to sleep, I keep hearing the pitter-patter of feet running around upstairs.
It’s also the end of the year, and I find myself thinking back to previous years, previous Thanksgivings. One year ago I didn’t have any writing projects and questioned a lot of things about my life. Two Thanksgivings ago we were finalizing plans to head out on our cross-country trip. Four years ago we had just moved into my parents’ basement with our four kids and $55,000 in debt.
What a journey.
The five-hundred-mile journey ahead of us and the journeys we’ve been on as a family have me thinking about the nature of this life, the nature of journeys.
Here are three things that came to mind late on a Sunday night (when I should be sleeping):
1. You are on your journey, and you can’t trade it for a different one. So many of us get caught up in trying to live lives we think we should live, instead of living the life we’ve been given. Too often the plans we make are more a reflection of what our culture expects than they are of what we’ve been created to do. Make your own way.
2. Embrace whatever leg of the journey you’re on. If life is a series of journeys, then you’re either preparing for a journey, on the road, or resting before the next journey begins. The most difficult of those three, for me, has been the resting, the waiting in between. The times when I didn’t know how everything was going to turn out. The times when I felt forgotten. But these times inevitably come to an end. It’s only wasted time if I spend it worrying and wishing it away.
3. Celebrate. Maybe you’ve published a book. Maybe you’ve gotten married or had children or went on a trip. Maybe you finally got that degree, or that job, or that promotion. Maybe you’ve passed a milestone. Celebrate it. Maile and I have been looking at our lives and trying to figure out how we can become more deliberate about celebrating the completion of journeys. The discipline of celebration is one way of pulling yourself into the present.
What journey have you been on lately? What journey would you like to embark on?