It happens every time.
Whenever I travel, life’s big questions bubble to the forefront of my mind.
Why are we here?
What is our purpose?
How many pairs of shoes can I fit into my suitcase?
It’s not like we’re traveling to different worlds. We’re not experiencing foreign cultures or dining on exotic foods (unless you consider Alabama a bit foreign). Only one of our kids has ever been on an airplane — thanks solely to a Zionsville Middle School band trip to Disney. I’ve never had a passport. Pathetic, I know. It’s not that I don’t want to travel abroad… it’s just not our time yet.
I’m not complaining. I feel very blessed to enjoy the vacations that we are able to take. Nothing thrills me more than packing every available inch of the Suburban with blankets, pillows, arms, legs, snacks, and electronic devices. I love ushering my weary, bed-headed children into an unfamiliar restaurant for a late-night dinner. Love watching their faces light up when we reach the beach, the sun, the sand. There is magic in traveling — no matter how far.
Such a big, wide world out there, and we’ve only scratched the surface.
It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day of our over-scheduled lives. Easy to find comfort and security in the routine. And I’m not denying that there is some solace in comfort and routine. I just know there’s more. And yet, I struggle with all the questions that come from change…
Will our kids be okay?
How much therapy will they need when they have to change schools?
Will we end up in the right place?
Are we making the right decisions?
And then that quiet, still voice that I’ve been learning to listen to says, “You are right where you need to be. Every step you take is one that needs to be taken. Your journey is perfect just the way it is.”
We’re on the precipice of big changes here. We’re standing on the edge of a cliff looking over into the great unknown. And that both excites and scares the shit out of me. I vacillate continually between those two emotions. Chris is interviewing all over the country — from Terre Haute, IN to Starkville, MS, to Anchorage, AK. Some sexy, some safe. All possible.
The biggest heartaches come when I think about leaving my family and friends. The love and commitment might not change, but distance does, indeed, create a different reality. Walking with dear friends at Eagle Creek and solving all the world’s problems together is not the same as talking on the phone across 500 miles. Sitting around a table filled with family and wine and laughter is not replaceable with a Skype call. The notion of not being able to physically wrap my arms around my loves makes those arms weak with longing. But I know that relationships can change for many reasons — not just because of distance. And that those that are meant to last will do just that.
And I know that nothing in this life is guaranteed.
On Saturday, we drove through the aftermath of a horrific accident in Alabama. Five young lives lost — four of them from our native Indiana. Lives that were just beginning cut far too short in the blink of an eye. A return home from an awaited vacation turned instantly into a journey of an unexpected and unwelcome sort. The sight of those twisted vehicles is seared into my brain. The emergency lights, the miles of backed-up traffic, the puddles left behind from the short but powerful rainfall. The pain and shock and tragedy of the situation locked deep within my heart. Oh, those families. Those mothers, those fathers, those siblings, those friends. In the midst of a daytime thunderstorm, so many lives irrevocably changed.
Nothing is guaranteed.
Here’s what I have today… a brilliant, devoted, and remarkable husband. Four beautiful, healthy, vibrant children. Friends who fill my heart, my soul, my mind. In this moment, I am abundantly blessed. And this moment is fleeting. Wherever this journey takes us, I will travel with open arms and embrace it and know that it is as it’s supposed to be.
Who knew such big realizations could come from such little grains of Florida sand?