I had high expectations:
We’d have twilight walks by the river.
There would be blankets spread out on grassy hills under tall pines.
Our shoulders would be golden from time spent playing games in the backyard.
A couple of date-nights with my handsome husband while mom and dad watched the kids, a few uninterrupted hours in my favorite coffee shop – just me, my books, and my writing.
When you only get to visit “home” from overseas every year-and-a-half it’s hard not to hope your time is perfect.
You can imagine how disappointing it was to land in America (after traveling 48 hours with a baby and a toddler!) only to wake up with bronchitis our first morning here. Equally disappointing was spending the next week in bed – both my husband and I.
This was so not perfect.
When we visit America it’s not only our time for a vacation, it’s precious time to visit family, time to connect with our missionary supporters, time to speak at church, time to go to the dentist, time to see friends, time to visit the tax guy, time to meet with pastors, time to get banking and paperwork done, etc etc etc.
Did I mention it’s also our time to rest and play and create family memories?
Being sick for ten days threw all our plans out. Not only did we have to cancel everything for a week, but it then meant trying to make up for missed meetings and obligations over the next two weeks.
It made for long, full days running from one meeting to another, squeezing errands in between. It meant park dates were sandwiched between appointments and even our “fun” had to be scheduled in.
There was very little margin or room for spontaneity – two essential components of a family vacation in my opinion.
As things piled up I had far too many moments of resisting the urge to succumb to stress (not always successful), and fighting off self-pity.
It’s hard when plans don’t go your way. The temptation is to label it all bad.
But perspective is a choice, always a choice.
Even though I would have never designed our trip to include sickness or busyness, it’s the reality we had to deal with. And in spite of our set-backs we made time to eat s’mores and collect sand dollars. We rolled down a few grassy hills and ate ice cream cones by the lake. We rode the chair lift up Mt. Bachelor and watched the sun sink over the Cascades. We watered the garden with Grampy and went thrifting with Gigi. We wrapped things up with a gloriously unscheduled few days at the beach.
“Every good and perfect gift comes from above.” (James 1:17)
Sure, our trip wasn’t perfect, but it was good. Really good.
And that, too, comes from above.
When is the last time you had something turn out imperfectly but could still recognize that it was good? Were you grateful for it regardless of the imperfections?