BIBLICAL POINT OF REFERENCE:
“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.”
Hey chuckling people,
Do you ever feel like everyone else’s life is so much more exciting than yours?
As schools are getting out and summer is starting, I’ve seen a lot on social media of people’s vacations. It seems as if almost everyone I know has been or is going somewhere exotic and exciting this summer—I have friends in France, Spain, and Italy right now, a sister in Ireland, and another who just returned from Israel. What is with this, huh? Everyone’s away living the dream, and I’m stuck in the same corner of Michigan as always, gone nine-to-five, five days a week at my first full-time job. And the few times I’m at home now I’m either eating away the day’s negativities or catching some Zs, while Callie’s probably off dancing the Irish jig with a shamrock in one hand and a Guinness in the other (maybe I wasn’t supposed to say that). Of course, I’ve been blessed with trips of my own—in the past two years I’ve been on a mission trip to Haiti, a backpacking trip in Canada, and a study abroad trip in Germany. I’ve had my fun, so maybe it’s about time I settle down and begin working … Nah, I’d rather be dancing that jig right along beside her. But I’m not jealous, right?
All this being said, I did have the chance to go to Chicago for Memorial Day Weekend to visit a friend from college. I was excited to go, but I didn’t see this short trip as a vacation at all; in fact, I saw it more as a chore. I was exhausted from my first few weeks of work and wanted nothing more than to spend my free weekend at home just relaxing with my family, yet I had promised this friend back in March that I would visit her for the long weekend, and I was intent on keeping that promise. So when Saturday rolled around, I got up bright and early, packed my car, and prepared for the five-hour drive ahead of me, even stopping for a coffee on my way out (I never drink coffee) just to ensure I didn’t fall asleep at the wheel.
I thought the drive to Chicago, the longest drive I had taken on my own up to that point, would be stressful crossing states and trying to figure out the different freeways and toll roads by myself. However, as soon as I got onto the highway and reached a steady speed, windows down and some music playing, I suddenly felt this immense sense of peace come over me. I realized that this was the first moment I had had to myself since starting my new job, a chance to just breathe and think about whatever I wanted to think about, to listen to whatever music I wanted, and to sing along freely as I wished. This was truly the break I had been looking for—there were no worries or anxieties about work ahead of me, just the open road and the promise of being reunited with a good friend waiting at the end of it.
And when I finally made it to Chicago and my friend ran out of her house to greet me, there was this indescribable feeling of joy between the two of us at being reunited. We hadn’t seen each other in over a month, which is quite a long time after spending a whole school year living just down the hall from one another, and the two of us couldn’t stop smiling and laughing and saying how much we had missed each other. This was the moment where I realized God had not just given me the gift of a break from all of my anxieties, but the gift of a true friend.
This short, weekend trip showed me that I don’t need an extravagant vacation to a foreign country to have a good summer, and that I don’t even need this type of experience to live an extraordinary life. An extraordinary life is a happy one, and happiness comes from appreciating the little things God places in our way that help us to recognize Him. For example, I saw God in the generosity of my friend’s parents for hosting me that weekend even though their house was in the process of being remodeled; I saw God in the dozens of acres of trees that lined the streets of my friend’s hometown as we drove past; and I saw God in the laughs my friend and I shared around the fire pit as we sang songs and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was these things that made the weekend so meaningful, and it is these things that last far longer than any trip money and time may allow for.
As we begin the summer, I challenge you all, wherever you are or whatever you’re doing, to stop for a moment and really think about all of the little joys God has given you in your life. Write them down, make a list if you have to, but take a step outside of yourself to consider their worth, and then to thank God for these precious gifts. And if you can, maybe take a quick car ride on the freeway, windows down and some music playing. I guarantee it does wonders for the soul.
Your Chuckling Sister,