From Coast to Coast

These past few weeks I've been taking a break from social media. My assistant scheduled some blog posts ahead of time but we ran into a family situation that left me unable to craft more for her to schedule. The time away has been refreshing and healing, though when dealing with life's struggles, it has also been difficult and trying. I thank you for your prayers. We took two trips in two weeks that were the biggest whirlwind of travel I have done in a long time. Our first was to visit family in Washington State--a blessed time we will always treasure. From there we drove to Oregon to see two of our children--also a wonderful pleasure that we hadn't expected this year--then flew home to Tiger for two days, to hop another plane to Florida for a week.

The Florida trip was two-fold. We wanted to see our son's work on the new Pandora world at Disney World, which opens May 27th, and to celebrate (early) our 40th wedding anniversary. Forty years ago (where did the time go?) we spent part of our honeymoon at Disney - back when the only theme park was the Magic Kingdom. We have been there with our kids since, but this time our son Chris, who is an Imagineer at Disney, invited us to see his work on Pandora. It was a sneak peek for friends and family.

We managed to walk our feet sore through all four of Disney's parks and stayed at the beautiful Grand Floridian Resort. These two trips allowed us to see all of our children and granddaughter and even some friends that we've known forever--another blessing we had not expected this year. But it left Tiger in a state of unrest, unfortunately. We came home to find him a pound lighter--not a good thing--and off to seek another opinion from a new vet. He is doing better since we've been home, for which we are grateful.

Of course, travel usually manages to take a toll. Weight gain. Sleep disruptions. Lessons learned. Life, even on vacation, doesn't always go the way we've planned. If I ever thought I was in control of anything in life, I was at my most naive. I've heard it said that those things that make us anxious are the things that really tell us that we think God can't handle the situation so we have to.

I think I'm starting to grasp that thinking. On a trip you are literally at the mercy of everyone around you from the pilot to the security agents to the bus drivers to the restaurant chefs to the people you cross paths with. Our precious life here is far more fragile than we know and we really are not in control of it. Of course, we think we are. (Confessions of an often-tempted control freak - waving my hand here.)

But for the grace of God...if I can't let go and trust Him with these life things that I think I have some influence over, then I'm giving into worry. And worry makes me want to force my will on others. Anxiety breeds impatience. And makes us think we have power we really don't have. Sometimes when we pray God will work things out in ways that please or help us, but sometimes He doesn't. 

We saw small examples of grace, like the time a man was in the wrong seat invading our space - uncomfortably so - and suddenly a young woman walked down the aisle of the plane with the ticket for the seat he was using. Problem "whew" solved.

But there were other times when prayers were left in uncertainty. We can't know the outcome yet. We can't control the future, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't ask. Because humbly asking for God's help shows our need and admits we cannot do this alone. Our God always hears those kinds of prayers.

So I'm not in control. I knew that. But I had no problem trusting the pilot, even as I prayed for a safe flight, which I knew was ultimately in God's hands. As is every breath I take each day.

Of course, lessons learned might cause me to think, but they aren't nearly as fun as the joy of seeing our family and going on some amazing rides. If you are anywhere near Disney World, go to see Pandora and ride both rides. They are the best in the parks, in my humble opinion! And the Na'vi River Journey just happens to have our son's creative work behind it. So it was a proud parent moment for us both.

From coast to coast we saw thousands of people in airports and shops to imaginary worlds to the reality of getting stopped by two Seattle policeman in our confusion of getting around. (Nice guys, by the way--very helpful.) We learned that rental cars can be far cheaper off site of an airport and that airports have schemes that prey on the unsuspecting.

We saw God help us pull together hotels and flights and all things needed on a night we lost power and had to do almost everything by cell phone. We were exhausted and exhilarated and I'm glad we did the hard things. Because it's in the hard things that we find the greatest grace. 

We returned just in time to leave 100 degree weather in Florida for beautiful 60-70s in Michigan springtime. A lot of emotion is still running through my heart from all that we experienced and are still experiencing, but it is good to be home and back to work--where I get plenty of chances to turn anxiety over to God and let Him teach me to live grace right here where He has placed me.