Every year we pack up our little two-door and drive the six hours to spend a week with Grandma and Grandpa. I spend the week before packing. You know what it’s like with a six year old. She can’t go a week without her curly bear, Leopold. She needs to bring her own no-tears shampoo. It’s the only time that she is likely to need her beachwear. And what if it rains? Also, I don’t want to come home to a dirty house, so I have to clean.
This is the fourth time we’ve made this trip and every year before this I was annoyed and exhausted by the time we left. Deep down I wondered if it was really worth it. Maybe we should be spending the summer vacation at home. It would be less work for me and my husband might get more rest, too. I’m almost 40 and at this point I’ve seen enough to know that you should make the most of what you have while you have it. The opportunity for my daughter, Juniper, to spend time with her grandparents will pass, and certainly the wonder of childhood passes, too. So, I kept on making the trip, but my own understanding wasn’t enough to make me happy about it.
This year, it’s different.
In those many years when I was ignoring God, especially in the last year, I often wondered what made Christians optimistic and tolerant of life. I gleened that having a distant spot of light to set their eyes upon must be the reason. I thought that it was just another psychological trick to get the most out of yourself, and none of those things ever worked for me. One day, when life felt chaotic and dim, I called out to that spot of light not really expecting an answer. From that day on my life began to change and keeps changing.
What really surprises me though is that Christians are not optimistic simply because they have a guiding light. It’s not only hope that makes them keep on with such cheerfulness.
It’s because prayer works. Asking God for joyful acceptance of my life really works. Asking God for the endurance to overcome exhaustion for the sake of my vocation really works. Now that I have invited God into my life my burdens don’t seem as heavy.
To be honest, I didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect actual change in the here and now. It’s very humbling.
It’s getting dark now, as a type. We’re still about three and a half hours from our destination. We’ll stumble in at around midnight at this rate. Yet, this year, I am not waffling or worried, nor am I irritated or angry. This year, God’s gift of peace is lasting and more than enough.