““Life is a journey, along different roads, different paths, which leave their mark on us. We know in faith that Jesus seeks us out. He wants to heal our wounds, to soothe our feet which hurt from traveling alone, to wash each of us clean of the dust from our journey.” - Pope Francis”
– Pope Francis
Apparently, family cross-country trips in RVs are “in.” I am out. I love my children, but let’s just say we are all big personalities and being in confined spaces for long periods of time cramps our individual and collective styles. For years I dreaded car rides that lasted more than an hour. Eventually, we worked our way up to the six-or seven-hour drive that it takes to get to Outer Banks in North Carolina. This year, my wife wanted to “spice it up” and suggested we add a ferry ride to the journey down south, which meant traveling from Cape May, NJ to Lewes, DE by boat. While I like spicy food, I prefer to keep my travel with the kids relatively bland. However, I told myself that it would cut out time cramped in the car. As we pulled our minivan onto the boat, one of my children asked how much shorter the boat would make our journey. My wife casually responded that the ferry would actually lengthen the total journey by about two hours. “It’s more for the memories!” she exclaimed to a collective sigh in the car.
The younger ones took the bait immediately, marveling at the number of floors the ship had and that they sold soft pretzels. The teenagers shrugged until the departure horn caused one of them to leap and made the whole family roar with laughter. Soon, there were reenactments from the Titanic, an unexpected drizzle that made us quickly seek shelter while giggling, and lots and lots of people-watching.
Ninety minutes later, we were driving our car off the vessel and the normal silence from the older two - and constant request for video games from the younger two – were replaced by stories and laughter while reminiscing about our ferry-tale adventure. It made me grateful once again for my bride’s intentionality around making memories. It also made me wonder where else in my life or leadership I might be receiving an invitation to try a different path to get to a familiar destination. I may know one way to accomplish something, but what stories or lessons am I missing by taking the same route every time? With those I’m blessed to lead, do I inspire them simply with tales of the promised land, or do I excite them by tales of what the journey will be like to get there? In my quest for holiness in the Lord, do I expect it to be a straight path, or can I embrace the hero’s journey?
As we approached the Outer Banks, the teenagers began their usual complaining about my music and the younger two repeatedly asked when they could go swimming. Despite the familiar finish to our drive, we were all conscious of being blessed by unique stories we could tell for years to come. Prayers that your journey this week not only brings you to your destination, but gifts you with many tales of His Grace!
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