Last week, my daughter, Lydia, and I took a road trip to see a few friends and family. Most often, I aim to get to our destination as quickly as we can, with minimal stops. This means we usually combine fuel stops, restroom breaks, and mealtimes, no less! Even beforehand, while packing, I feel rushed and in a time crunch.
It may be efficient, but it is not much fun.
Generally, we start out before dawn and arrive late afternoon. However, this time, we started out later in the day and so I determined to stay at a hotel along the way. I am so glad I did. At each stop along the way, we were able to really soak in the experience. I even felt more peace while packing, knowing that I didn’t have to rush to get ready. We could meander instead.
That first day, Lydia and I visited with a dear family that we had known in Fargo. We enjoyed swimming and eating dinner with them. Then, back at the hotel, Lydia and I had fun watching television in bed. She was elated about having a television, sink, refrigerator and microwave in the same room as her bed. That alone was worth the cost of the hotel! The following day we arrived at our next stop by lunch time—and we were not feeling hurried or exhausted. Nice!
On our return trip, we did make the long drive in one day. Yet, I decided to skip the highway and took the scenic route instead. We drove around Lake Pepin on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. It added a couple hours to our travel time, but was well worth it. We stopped at beautiful scenic overlooks and interesting historical markers. We even had a picnic by the Mississippi River. After stopping at a park to play for a few minutes, we wandered into the Stockholm Pie Company. Needless to say, I was glad we stopped for some delicious pie and ice cream.
I started to think about Life’s detours and how God uses them. He provides peaceful rest, teaches us and prepares us for His continued work in our lives. When I only aim to get to the next stopping point, I can miss many lovely details. Like any good vacation, I had few pressing matters weighing on my mind. Time could have stood still, and it would have been alright in my little world.
But, on our return trip, I also felt God’s love in unexpected ways. It was as if He had planned the scenic detour especially for me. The warm breeze and sunny day… the classic tree-lined waterline…the kiss of warm pie and ice cream…shared with my adorable little girl… circumstances seemingly designed just for me. That was the most refreshing part of all!
In the daily hubbub, I can forget to notice God’s voice, which is usually heard best when I am being still. How about you? His grace is always present, but we can miss it because of our own agenda or our fast pace at breakneck speed.
At times, I do have to hurry back home after a long trip. But, I am now content to stop and smell the roses, as they say. Or should that be…Life is short–stop and eat pie?!