Enjoy the Journey

 

Rainbow over Smithport October 16, 2015
Rainbow over Smithport, October 16, 2015

Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted. Take delight in each light-filled hour. – Ecclesiastes 11:8 (The Message)

I once read of a woman who wanted to visit some relatives who lived halfway across the country. Since she didn’t like to fly, she decided to take a train. Besides, she figured, she’d see more of the countryside that way. But when she got to her seat, she fiddled around, arranging her things for comfort and convenience. She was never quite satisfied, and, by the time she got situated, she had reached her destination. She never got to enjoy the trip!

On our life journey, we can become so focused on trying to make little, inconsequential details perfect that we miss the best part—the journey itself. We fail to discover the pleasant surprises—the serendipity moments—God has placed around us each day.

A rainbow is a serendipity moment. One summer morning years ago I roused my three children out of bed to see a rainbow. The sleepyheads didn’t appreciate it then, but I hope they remember, and I hope, now that they’re adults, they allow some serendipity in their lives—and teach their children likewise.

Serendipity is more than spontaneity. It’s finding an unexpected joy—a “fortunate happenstance” or pleasant surprise on your life journey. Detailitis blinds us to serendipity.

Or maybe we just get too busy, period, and develop “projectitis.” We become slaves to a list of projects that “just must be done,” and we don’t take time to smell the lilacs, gaze at a rainbow, watch the sunset, dance barefoot in the rain, go on an impromptu picnic, or take a day trip just for fun.

Stopping to appreciate what’s around us isn’t the only way to enjoy life. Don’t just say, “I’ve always wanted to ______” (fill in the blank). Take the time and do it!

Just this past week I listened to a radio host interviewing a man who set out, at the age of 69, to visit each of the 50 states before his seventieth birthday. His visits aren’t just drive through or stop and take a few pictures, either. He plans an adventure in each state—a bike ride, a hike—something physically challenging. He has four states left, one of which is Colorado, where he plans a skiing adventure.

My writing colleague and friend Karen O’Connor, a senior who writes for seniors, is currently on a two-week tour of the national parks in the western states. “This trip has been on my bucket list,” she said. “Now it’s time to pull it out of the bucket.”

Don’t let detailitis blind you to the beauty of the world around you or projectitis snuff out your dreams. Give in to serendipity moments. Pull something out of your bucket.

Remember that happiness is not a destination—it’s the journey itself.

However many years I have, Lord, help me to enjoy them all (Ecclesiastes 11:8 NIV). Open my eyes to the pleasant surprises in this day, and give me the courage to take time to pursue those dreams You’ve placed in my heart. Amen.

Extra tea: Read and meditate on Luke 10:38–42

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Dean and me on top of Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine, September 2013 (on our 40th wedding anniversary camping trip)