When I first read this week’s fortune, I thought to myself, “But I’m not traveling anytime soon.” Such is my current state. Although life has a way of throwing issues at our feet, and I am now contemplating a certain airline’s “Wanna Get Away” fares.
Ah, life; it’s like a box of kittens—all cute and cuddly until the little daggers come out and tear up your furniture. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It’s not the destination. It’s the journey.” I would have to agree with him in theory. We should pay attention to the journey, but does it have to have so much turbulence? Could I have a first-class seat once in a while? I’d complain about the legroom, but I’m short, so that’s never been an issue for me.
I really shouldn’t complain. My journey through life hasn’t been all that bad. I’ve received some complimentary snacks and occasionally a window seat with a decent view. Most of the time, I made it to my destinations without too many delays. Yeah, my college education took a little longer, but I did change my major halfway through. Honestly, I’m thrilled that I got a ticket for life—we all should be.
I see all these ads for vacations to sun-soaked beaches or exotic get-a-ways, and I wonder just how relaxing that journey is. Sure, once you get there, you can prop your feet up and have a beverage with a little umbrella in it. But we all know that the trip will probably not go off without a hitch. Now, the ad will never tell you about all the mishaps that might occur along the way. No, they only show you a picture of crystal blue waters lapping at white sands. You have to deal with the rest on your own.
It’s no wonder I see so many people pulling their hair and gnashing their teeth. “It’s too hard.” “I’m offended.” “Why should I care?” These are just some of the things I hear people say. It appears they think life was supposed to be a long smooth journey to some exotic destination. It’s almost like there was no truth in advertising the foibles of our existence. Well, guess what, honey? Buckle up! It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
We probably should have figured this all out early in life, considering one of the first things we are capable of doing when we are born is to cry. And cry, we will, on many occasions. But not every tear we shed is out of sadness. No, there will be times of laughter and sheer joy, but without the lows, we can’t have the highs.
Now that I look back, I had a clue or two along the way. I remember a friend wrote a benign silly something in my yearbook once. “Have a nice trip. See you next fall.” I never considered how accurate and existential that remark was at the time. It’s the perfect amendment to Emerson’s quote. I did trip and fall many times. I also got back up and tried again.
All of those issues that we have to deal with in life help us grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. Little did I know when I read that excerpt in fourth grade that my friend could be wishing me more than a pleasant vacation. If we were both a little wiser, we might have taken it as, “You’re going to fail sometimes, but you’ll be better because of it.”
Will we enjoy the hardships of life? Nope. Will we receive everything we expect? Probably not. I know for myself, I will even complain—a lot—along the way, but at least I won’t be kidding myself that the perfect ride is easy. On the contrary, the perfect ride is one where we will have to get out and push because we have that vision of our goal in our sights.
Yes, we should have high expectations and plan for a smooth ride, but we should also prepare for turbulence, potholes, and detours. So, as you travel on this journey of life, sit back and enjoy the chaos. It will make that heavenly destination all the more worth it.