#1: People are good. When you expand your contact with strangers to new places beyond, Wal-Mart, customers at work and worst of all, Social Media – people really, truly are good. I’ve met so many strangers on the road who will go out of their way to do good deeds, take genuine interest in getting to know us, place hands on us and pray for our safety and Tara’s continued healing, and (the fastest way to my heart) do nice things for my kids. I’m embarrassed that it has taken me this long and taken this many encounters with strangers to recognize this first “life lesson from the road”, but from this day moving forward I’ve made a choice that I’d rather live my whole life, seeing the best in and trusting people to be occasionally disappointed, rather than to live my life not trusting anybody.
#2: Kids will play with sticks. Seriously. That sounds funny but I can honestly categorize it as a “road epiphany”. We still have a few favorite toys for the kids, but we’ve eliminated the closet-fulls of toys that were a part of their lives up to this point and guess what happened…..Yep, they play with sticks.
Whoa, that sounds trashy! But I will tell you that my children use more creativity and have more fun running, climbing, splashing and playing in the outdoors than ever before. I see Ellie and Logan smiling, exercising and playing together far better than the lackluster faces that used to stare off into electronic devices.
I also see more appreciation (rather than expectation) for new toys and games. It amazes me how many parents I hear complain about their kids, “never play outside like we used to!” and “they’re always on those video games, etc….” as if they are powerless over the situation. I promise you this – – – if you take them away, kids will find something to play with. Mine seem to love imaginary swordfights, magic wand tricks, horseback riding, dragon training and bow and arrow shooting with……yes, sticks. 🙂
#3: Beautiful surroundings should be enjoyed with loved ones. I will open up and share a bit of my heart with you here, when I tell you that the overwhelming joy that I feel when I wake up to nature’s beauty is far greater than I expected….
This new life of working with my hands outdoors for God’s plan has allowed me and my family to visit some of the most breathtaking National Parks in the country.
It has given me a renewed faith and closeness to the Lord and brought me peace and happiness. However, these beautiful surroundings wear off pretty quickly when you are alone and don’t have someone to share them with.
The true joy comes from the smile I see on Tara’s face as we take in new beautiful views each day and we’re living her dream. (Can you blame me? Look how happy she is!!!)
(Imagine sitting alone in that same setting. I’m sure I would still appreciate the beauty – but would be very bored, very soon.)
I am far more overjoyed when I delight in the “quality time” with my kids that I had missed out on way too much in their lives so far.
The wrestling, playing, laughing and cuddling now takes place from sunrise until sunset and Daddy is no longer missing from family meals or bedtimes.
Yes, God’s kingdom is beautiful and there is a closeness with the Lord that takes place when you get outdoors – but the most magnificent miracles God blesses us with, happen when you are surrounded by those that you love.