June humidity leaked through the open screen door and sunshine heralded the new day like a golden banner while i scanned websites and magazines for the place to spend a three night vacation with my family. It was the first real impromptu trip that I have ever thrown together. On a whim. And that whim produced a bit of whimsy.
We were supposed to be camping with the kids at their favorite campground, but after looking into things I realized that we really could exchange a kid themed campground with a dizzying list of activities, for a weekend in the mountains of Tennessee.
My husband hustled out the door into the heat and said, "When I come home we are going. Make up your mind."
My finger hovered over the cabin I had found only hours before and finally I decided to reserve.
The whole trip was so unlike me. I'm not a super organized person at all. Or someone that has to have my ducks in a row. My life is filled with too much variety for that; however, I'm someone who scouts out the facts and waits to act.
"Are you sure?" I asked my husband earlier, "You'll be okay with what I pick?"
"Sure". And that was his answer to that.
After placing our reservation and jotting down directions, the next few hours were a blitz of packing activity. You know whenever you are packing for 4 girls (even though 3 of them are under 7) you have a lot to pack and ample toys that should be rounded up to bring.
Later as I sat in the front seat with my notepad of scrawled out directions and three kids smiling in the backseat, nodding off to the late afternoon sun I felt a little jolt....a jolt of what it means to decide and act quickly, to travel light. To just decide to go and then enjoy whatever comes.
Thats not a Griffin trait (my maiden name).
We almost did not make it to the rental grounds to pick up our keys to our cabin. Our on a whim trip brought us down to the wire as we searched the area to find it just in the last few minutes before it closed. My husband bounded out to get the keys and shadows seamed nightfall in. It was nine thirty as we pulled up to an adorable tiny cabin tucked into thick forests at the base of the mountains.
The next morning I padded out to the cabin in the early morning to listen to leaves rustle and sit on the old rocking chair.
In my pajamas with my book and my steaming cup of coffee I smiled out on all of the green leaves and forest chatter that happened all around me...the noisy quiet.
And a thought flickered in my mind and started to take form....
I thought about it, and here's a few things I realized...
Just like this trip I had spur of the moment decided upon and done, one day life would end for me in some way and I would be on to a different destination that opens in Eternity...Heaven
Just like that I'd travel from this earth, and flutter my eyes open to a new place.
It may be a long arduous journey of exit through disease or illness
Or perhaps even something frightening...like searching for a cabin that is nestled deep in the dark and finally finding it...(i've certainly witnessed a horrific death of a friend)
Or it may simply be like this trip, something that takes me completely by surprise...
My girls and I discuss this. Three years ago their mid twenties uncle died and so death has been a normal part of our conversation. They aren't afraid of dying, and I do not want them to be (except when I admonish them, "NO STEPPING OUT IN THE ROAD!")
But the other day tears slid thick down cheeks and a lip quivered out before bedtime, little girl fears of how they would one day die. We discussed it gently and I tried to assuage them by assuring them that no matter the means that they died the end result would be safely home with Jesus.
We prayed God's protection and courage over them and I assured them I was absolutely positive God had lots for them to do as the tread upon this earth.
But really that is a bit of a jolt for us all. When you know someone has exited the earth in a flash, vibrantly here one minute and then tragically gone, struck down in the prime or youth of their life...it unsettles you...
So back to me and the porch and my quiet thoughts...I have to be ready...and do I not already know this?
One of my favorite Bible verses for years now reads, "Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12
I have no idea if my exit will be fast, slow, scary, or even waking up one minute and kissing the earth good by the next...but I know that I have to be ready...I may not get to tie up loose ends like the quickly thrown together details of my weekend trip...in fact i may appear to have left so much undone with lots of open ended sentences...however despite premature notice or without warning I have to be ready and the good news is...I can be.
One last thought, As I reflected on the quick trip i thought of the words traveling light...
Unlike my loaded down mini van, none of us will carry a thing with us into Eternity...we all know it, but in light of the seriousness of the subject...why don't I live like that? I am not someone who is bent on carrying around a lot of possessions...never have been. But why don't I travel light through this life and leave silly worries behind, even big ones....I know in reality all these precious and fleeting moments carry with them the weight of eternity and there is no reason to let trivial earthly things take up too much space in my heart or weigh my feet down...
|my oldest atop a mountain overlook on our trip|
Matthew 11:30 "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. " Its hard to find more comforting or encouraging words than that traveling promise spoken from Jesus himself.