My family and I were in Georgia for the Fourth of July holiday, visiting my mom, dad, and one of my older brothers. The 13-hour drive to see them is always an opportunity to reflect on life and where I’m going.
Long drives can do that, you know.
As we pass other vehicles on the road, destinations and pit stops, it’s a reminder that we’re all on this journey, a journey that is oftentimes rife with the proverbial bumper-to-bumper traffic, detours, bumps in the road, and near-death collisions. Oh, how unexpected life can be.
Long road trips are also a lot of fun. My two children in the back seat, with their endless appetites, chomp away at snacks that I pack for the family. They sometimes fight over who gets to use the electronic device first. Every once in a while, we’ll all join voices and sing one of our favorite gospel songs by Tasha Cobbs, sounding so woefully off-key.
Yes, family road trips are a reminder that life is not all good, but not all bad either.
My dear husband drives about 90 percent of the way. I take a couple of naps during our journey. Feeling refreshed, I ask if he needs a break, and more than often he says no. I offer again as we near Atlanta, which is usually when his fatigue really starts to set in.
As I get behind the wheel, adjust the mirrors and seat, I can’t help but think about how blessed this life is.
For one, it’s a privilege to visit my mom and dad. Though they are getting up and age, and their bodies show signs of wear-and-tear, they are still on this side of heaven. For that, I am grateful.
Family. It warms my heart to be in their presence.
I get a feeling of wholeness when we make the long trek to Georgia from Washington, DC.
Sure, we could take trips to more exotic locations or locales in the U.S. where the air smells different and new. I’m sure the kids wouldn’t mind an amusement park now and then, instead of the Georgia countryside. But, no, Disneyworld can wait.
Let’s be honest. Life is so fleeting.
James, Jesus’ brother and a leader in the church, said it best:
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If this is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
No matter how long we live, this life is a blink of an eye compared to eternity.
I am humbly aware that my shelf-life here on earth is short. In fact, it is not even in my hands. My life, your life, is in God’s hands.
Being aware of my humanity compels me to listen to the Holy Spirit, which guides me and presses upon my heart the righteous thing to do.
It is that soft whisper that compels me to go see my family whenever there’s a chance. In doing so, I submit to the Lord’s will.
And I am all the more better for it. Time with family, in the place we call our roots, refreshes the soul.
As James suggested, tomorrow is not promised. Our earthly lifetime is, indeed, short. Therefore, let’s not put off tomorrow, what we could do today.
Here are some simple ideas from my own life:
- Spend quality time with a loved one.
- Call a friend/family member and tell them you love them.
- Forgive a wrong.
- Speak honestly to someone who needs it.
- Give a much-needed hug.
- Let go of regret.
- Kick a bad habit.
- Try something new.
- Get real with God and turn away from a sin/fear/doubt/insecurity/bitterness, etc.
- Serve someone in need.