BY MEGAN OAKS
For the past few weeks my family and I have been doing some summer traveling. As I’m sure any of you with kids know, traveling can be a lot of fun and at the same time very daunting.
I typically go into these times with the highest hopes, full of anticipation for new things we’ll see, memories we’ll make and the bonding my three acorns will share. My husband on the other hand, the yin to my yang, tends to have a less positive outlook on the experience; he calls it realistic, I call it negative.
Either way, our trip always ends up landing somewhere in the middle of our ideas, yet so far we’ve survived and some would say are stronger from the experience.
As we were traveling a few weeks ago with some extended family, making our way to Roswell NM, my 5 year old daughter asks me from the backseat “Mom, are we there yet”… those infamous four words that loom like a dark cloud on every family road trip.
After nearly eleven years of traveling as a Mom, one thing I’ve learned is it’s always better to answer this question with a positive answer opposed to the typical “No, not yet”. I peered into my rearview mirror and smiled at her sweet face as I said “Not quite, but we’re closer than we were when we started”. My sister in law told me later she would be stealing that line to use on her own children.
On another occasion, while riding passenger with my husband, he commented on the dustiness of his windshield. Not five minutes later he asked if it was really dark outside or if it was just his sunglasses. Truth be told, it was probably a combination of his tinted shades, the previously noted dust on his windshield and the slight cloud coverage from the scattered storms we passed through.
It reminded me of a story I had just read of a lady who was daily judging her neighbor on the cleanliness of her laundry hanging on the line to dry. Assuming this lady’s detergent or knowledge of laundering her clothes was less than praiseworthy until one day she looked outside and noticed something new; a line full of clean clothes (by her standards). As she approached her husband with the news, he revealed how he in fact had just cleaned their windows.
It’s not always the situation that is less than, but rather the perspective we are viewing it through that could use an alteration.
How often in life is our vision distorted by the situations around us? Much like the Israelites grumbled and complained and wished for their own deaths as they were being led out of slavery.
No matter how good the future looked, they were unable to see past their current situation. So much so that death seemed like the better option. What if Moses had responded to their complaints of “are we there yet”, with the gentle reminder of “we are closer than we were when we started…”? A negative attitude will always yield negative results.
And while a positive attitude may not always end in a positive result, it will make the journey more enjoyable.
I’d like to encourage you through this road trip of life, to not focus on the distance or the circumstances out of your control, but rather set your eyes on the destination and forge forward enjoying each moment as it comes. When the road seems dark or unmanageable, maybe it’s time to lift your shades or dust off your windshield and never forget just how far you’ve already come.
Even one step forward is too far to turn back!
Megan Oaks is Maryland born, North Carolina raised, currently residing in New Mexico and looking forward to retirement in East Tennessee. Married to her Earthly hero, an Airman in the Air Force and mother to their three "acorns". Recently enrolled in her first college semester at 30 years old and striving toward a degree in Rad Tech. In her spare time, which is few and far between, Megan enjoys photography, reading, following the Baltimore Ravens and reality television. Air Force wife, mother to three, and daughter of the most high King. You can contact her via Twitter at @megancoaks.