Our three-week vacation began by filling every open space in the van. Everything to be packed was laid out on the driveway, suitcases, food, Lego bins (yes, more than one), tents, coolers, computer bags, and even a fluffy green dinosaur. It looked to me as though none of it would fit. I considered what to bring back inside and leave behind. Feeling confident, my husband placed items in, one by one. Like an intricate, mind-bending puzzle, he packed everything in the car and it fit–even the pillow sized triceratops.
Driving down the highway, we chatted while the boys watched a movie. Looking out the window, I watched the miles of ranches and Florida plains pass by, a seemingly endless stretch of trees, grass, fences, and cows . Billboards advertising the adventures and dreams fulfilled ahead in Orlando stood out-of-place beside the grazing cattle.
I began to wish for a better view, something interesting to look at. As the acres of pasture land past my window, I thought about life’s journey. Everyday life isn’t always interesting. Sometimes, it is monotonous, routine, and even boring. Unexpected inconveniences interrupt and add to the daily frustrations and irritations of life. We long for a break, yet all we can see for miles ahead, is an endless plain of the same thing.
Is this all there is to life? Going to work, taking care of kids, folding endless loads of laundry, chores, appointments, and running errands, can all bore the senses. Occasionally, our routine is broken by experiences that entice or excite the senses. We attend a party, enjoy a hike in nature, or take a weekend trip away. Sometimes, we can live for those moments, counting downs the days until the next event on the calendar.
They say that the journey can be just as good as the destination. On our twelve-hour drive north, I just wanted to get there. I didn’t care to see another cow, lake, or palm tree. In life, we often rush through our days to get to the next exciting thing. We count down the hours until work is over, our husband returns from his job, or the weekend arrives.
But what do we miss when we push our way through the mundane and ordinary things of life?
I wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed in my own life by not living in today. Every time I look into tomorrow, planting my mind and heart there, I am absent from the present. When I long to be other than where God has placed me, I miss the gifts of the moment. I’ve passed by countless opportunities to learn, grow, stretch, and change. And how many hugs, smiles, tickles, jokes, sights, tastes, smells, and more have I lost when dwelling on the future rather than today?
What if we seized every moment and appreciated it for what it is–a gift? Even the boring, dull, monotonous, and thankless routines of life are blessings from our Father. Each breath is grace and every day brings new mercy. Perhaps if we opened our hands to receive these gifts each day, the path to joy will unfold before our eyes. Chores become opportunities to love and serve. Interceding in sibling rivalry becomes a teaching moment. Bored children become giggly wrestling opponents and snuggling appendages over a story read aloud. Appointments and errands become an open door to blessing a stranger. Work becomes a place where we glorify God.
And life becomes a joy to live.
I looked out the window at the seemingly endless miles of ranch land, cluttered with trees, grass, and cattle, and chose to seize the moment. I pulled out my journal and began to write about what I saw…
“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
“This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Counting all as joy (#1783-1794)
Our daily routines
laundry, dishes, errands, and cleaning
a family to serve
seeking joy in the mundane
comforting my kids when they are scared
homeschool ideas found on Pinterest
receiving a bouquet of flowers and gift card for a pedicure–just because
homeschool fun: baking a cake and decorating it like the earth
mucinex D–how else could I have gotten through the week?
a weekend of rain from TS Isaac= a reason to stay indoors