I’ve been thinking a lot about the adventures life sends us in our lifetimes. Some are adventures we choose, some we are forced into. But, adventures change us & mold us, make us into better people. We are never the same after an adventure.
I have a cousin, Jessica, who is living in Lima, Peru this year working for Heifer International. She’s amazing. She’s feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, & giving shelter to the homeless…no I take that back. She’s teaching the hungry how to feed themselves, how to dress themselves, and how to give themselves shelter. She is so brave. She moved away from home, with her new husband & her eight year old son. I miss them all so much that it makes my heart ache.
She, my parents & siblings & I were all talking to tonight via GroupMe about how much she is missed and how she misses her family. And I started thinking about adventures again for the umpteenth time today. Just because it’s an adventure, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be simple or pain free, not even the ones we choose. It wasn’t easy when I went to Spain, it wasn’t easy when I went to Mexico, it sure as heck wasn’t easy when I had my first child (or my second), or even this forced “adventure” of losing my grandmother. But these adventures or journeys, call them what you will, are so life altering that it takes my breath away (especially the ones that I’ve been a part of this year.)
I’ve never gone on a journey that hasn’t changed me, whether it was the tiniest of tiny experiences or the largest. And I have always come home appreciating my family, friends, my life, God. When my son was born, I realized in an instant what my mother gave up for me when she turned her back on a law career & chose to be a stay-at-home mom. When I took that first look at my son, I saw what my mother must have seen when she looked at me for the first time 28 years ago. And I was quickly reminded of that for the second time when I took my first look at my daughter.
Since my grandmother’s death, I have looked at family differently, friends differently. I have seen moments in life that would have once been small & insignificant feel overwhelmingly large and amazing. I’m trying to not take people for granted and to appreciate the amazing abundance of blessings I have in my life. I’m not perfect, the longer that time passes from the big moments in my life (family moving far away, a loved one dying, children coming into the world) I have that sense of slipping back into focusing on the small fragments of this life, instead of the bigger picture.
This new adventure has me trying to be focused on what is really important. And as cliche as that sounds, the big picture is my children & husband, our health, my extended family, my relationship with God. Not the dishes, not the clutter, not the laundry, not the yard, not money……And yes, those small details are important in this life adventure too, but they shouldn’t be my main focus. How boring would that be?! As the quote goes,
Life is not a journey to the grave
With the intention of
Arriving safely in a pretty
And well preserved body,
But rather to skid in broadside,
Thoroughly used up,
Totally worn out,
And loudly proclaiming,
WOW !!!! What a ride!
These adventures change us, whether we are working to feed the poor in Lima, Peru or making sure that we get plenty of food on the table for our children in small town Arkansas and every where in between.
I’ll end with this quote, that really sums up what I’m trying to say and it was said far better than anything I wrote here today;
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
May we all come back from our adventures better because of them, blessed to have been a part of them, & having learned something while we were in the middle of them, whether we wanted to go on one or not. At least, that’s what I’m aiming for.
And I hope that you will stop by Jessica’s blog: Our Year in Peru