Today, I struggle to make a post. (And, YES. I know my title ends in a preposition.) For the first time in a long time, my brain feels empty, blank, void. This is an odd occasion. While it is rarely full of anything of worth, it is almost always brimming with dumb jokes, songs, ponderings, and other amusements. But, now, nothing..... nothing, that is, except the big bright blob that is sucking all energy and thought from all other topics, studies, and distractions. The culprit? The trip to Nashville.
Many years ago, at a time when I was really down, I asked Dad how he got through rough times. My father pointed out that he always tried to have something to look forward to... something down the road, some big goal he was trying to reach, some event that would be especially joyous, some project to work toward. I had never thought about that before and tended to dwell on the 'here and now' - especially when there were bumps in the journey. Low points got me stuck. Since that time, I've tried to apply Dad's approach. I started making it my practice - as on numerous occasions, life hasn't turned out the way I thought it would. So, I've looked forward to the first day of summer recess. I've looked forward to my birthdays. I have looked forward to work celebrations, weddings, family reunions, church meetings, and visits from friends. Sometimes, the big moments were even 5 or 6 months away, but they were often the bright lights that got me through the dark times. In 2006, for instance, I had felt horribly most of the year with ill health, and I kept my "eye on the prize"... feeling like I had wait decades to attend my first Box Lunch Social in Arkansas. The anticipation propelled me forward through a long summer, and it was wonderful when finally attending!!
These "look forward moments" might not be a big deal to some, but they're a big deal to me... no matter how small the occasion, no matter how non-glamorous the destination. And, this vacation has been the same for me. Something great to look forward to for over 7 months! It's our first family vacation in 17 years - 17 years since I was in high school. I did have one big vacation that I took with co-workers while in grad school (a cruise to Mexico!), but there hasn't been a REAL one since. Very little money, too few vacation days, no traveling partners... I've enjoyed many church trips and trips to see friends and family, with a few days off here and there. But, it has been at least 10 years since I've taken a full week off and gone somewhere. I'm breaking free from my desk and leaving work behind. I'm getting out and seeing some places!
You'd think I'd be talking about some exotic island, a European castle, or a spa vacation. No, I'm just talkin' about Nashville, but it seems FABULOUS to me! And, time with Mom, Dad, Aaron and Ketra always goes too quickly, so I'm thankful for the extra long visit. (We'll see if we'll feel that way a week from now!) The week after next, I hope to post tons of pictures of our smiling faces, having a great ol' soakin'-up-every-minute time, making some family memories in Music City. And, maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to check in a few times to submit some "reports from the road" before then. Please keep us in your prayers - for a safe and peaceful journey.
Do any of you have any especially big (or small) events to which you're really looking forward and which have helped you remain motivated?
(More on the spiritual applications of this after I return...)