Is a Spontaneous Journey Something to Be Valued?

 

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Several years ago our family decided to take a trip while our children were young. We decided to load up the car and drive to Orlando, Florida to see Disney World. We discussed the plans and set the date. We had four weeks to get ready for our journey to see Mickey Mouse. On the night before we were supposed to leave, I got home from work and told my wife to pack the car. I wanted to leave at night instead of waiting until the next day. I guess I was excited and wanted to get on the way. She is not a person of spontaneity, so this took some thought on her part. She had to make sure everything was ready before we just headed out. I understood, so I gave her a few minutes to think. The answer was a unanimous “yes!” Everyone was in agreement to pack up and head out. (I might have thought differently if I would have known it was going to take 15 hours) The trip was great and we have memories that will linger. My wife still is not one for spontaneity.

Spontaneity happens on our journeys and it can be painful when we are caught off-guard. My mother was having some problems with making decisions. We took her to have a cat-scan and we found out she had a type of brain tumor. We were not expecting that. The words we heard were hard to hear and the end of her journey was quick. We experienced the pain of spontaneity. I had a friend whose dad went to the doctor for a bad cough, only to find out he had double lung cancer and had about eight weeks to live. Spontaneity was something they had to experience in a difficult way.

I like to be in control, have things where I know they are and organized. My desk may be messy, but at least I know where everything is. When I need something, or someone asks for something, I can lay my hands on it within a few minutes. Messy but organized. Journeys in life are not always as cooperative. They may be messy, but they are not organized and they may catch us off-guard and shake the very ground we are standing on.

So how do we deal with the painful spontaneity in our lives that lead us down a strange pathway on our journey? Unfortunately you can’t plan for them and that is why it is called spontaneity. I guess the best thing I can tell you is to expect the unexpected. Then if the unexpected never happens (which sometimes it will) then you’re ok. However, expect it. Don’t get caught off-guard. Understand the we don’t know what tomorrow holds. Being spontaneous is something we have to get used to, especially as we journey more in life. When the ground beneath you is shaken, find something, or someone to hold on to and allow them to hold on to you. You’ll get through it. Your ground will become solid again. It will take some time. The spontaneity will leave and life will get back to normal. Spontaneity is not always enjoyable, but it is a part of our journey.

Observing As We Journey

 

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It was quite a journey this week. As with most journeys, the journey isn’t just one journey. Our journey is made up of different smaller journeys. Each day brings about a different journey. This week I want to share another side of my journeying. This week I want to talk about observing while on my journey. This week I had the opportunity to observe some pretty heavy journeying. While I wasn’t taking the heavy journeys, I had the chance to observe others on their journey. Here is just a glimpse of what I observed.

I visited with a lady who was journeying from a wheelchair. She has COPD, which I am all too familiar with on a family level. She didn’t have the breath to get up and walk around, but she did have the energy to smile, laugh, share some of her story and even sing with me. She didn’t want to at first, but when I told her I would sing with her, she agreed. I started and, like a director bringing in the choir, she joined in…loudly and with the energy that I could only imagine she once had all the time. I only knew one verse, but promised I would come back and we would sing again. It was good to see someone in such a confining situation journeying with a smile on her face.

The next day I talked on the phone with a lady whose journey had just about taken its toll on her. As soon as I started speaking with her, the emotion she was experiencing came out like an overflowing cup of water. The loss of her mother and a divorce was just about too much. She was shocked, but pleased, that I had called. She had called the suicide hotline twice, thinking that was the way out of her journey. She wasn’t going to do anything, she was just investigating. Still, I could tell the heaviness was getting to be too much for her. We talked a while, she cried some more. We talked about healthy goals, her mood lightened. By the end of the phone call she was feeling better. I could hear it in her voice. She was starting to be in control instead of letting the journey control her. A call the next day confirmed she was doing better. She could now journey with a little lighter step.

Finally, I observed a young man journeying in a courtroom. This was probably the hardest journey to observe. He looked about the age of my son. Neatly groomed with a collegiate appearance. I knew his story, yet I do not know where his journey will take him. I know where he’s been but have no idea where he is heading. I looked at his face. No emotion. I listened to the witnesses and looked again at his face. Still, no emotion. He just sat and stared ahead. There were times when he would write something on a piece of paper. However, like Jesus wrote in the sand, I am not sure what was written. He would lean to the side and talk with the man beside him, but I heard nothing. I thought about his journey and wondered what he was thinking. Unlike the woman in the wheelchair, there was no smile. Different than the woman on the phone, no emotion. His was probably the heaviest of journeys. Yet, there was nothing. Kind of sad. Actually, very sad.

My journeys this week were tiring, mentally. However, I’m glad my journeys took me to these places. I could have sat with the first lady all day. I felt relieved that the second lady was doing better. I still wonder what the young man was thinking. One thing that did happen this week is I had the chance to think about my own journey and realize how blessed I am to be able to journey and observe others on their journey. I encourage you to walk with your head up so you can observe others as they journey along with you. What you see may cause you to think, smile, laugh and maybe cry.  Your observations can share many different stories, whether they are told in full or not.

Accepting Help Along the Journey

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My new job, which is a new journey I am traveling, has brought with it a new set of obstacles and struggles to overcome. Learning a new computer system while also learning an old computer system. Learning new names and faces among the 100+ people whom I now call co-workers. Making sure I do things the “right” way, even though there are times when I wonder if it really is the right way. Trying to do all of these things is stressful, especially when I just left a journey in which I was very comfortable.

My last journey had become an easy and fun journey. I knew where everything was, even what I could and could not do.  The best part of the old journey was that I was confident I could do it. I had the best friends in the world. I could do the job with my proverbial hands behind my back. I was so confident in my previous journey… maybe too comfortable in my confidence. Maybe I needed to  be stretched, and stretched I have become.

While my journey is new, and while I may have struggles in my new journey, I am very thankful I am not journeying alone. I have some awesome people who are helping me on this new journey. People who have been working at this job for 4, 10 and more than 15 years. These are good, strong and confident people. They know what I am going through because they were once in my shoes. They too were once on a new journey, feeling alone and lacking the confidence needed to make it to lunch, much less the whole day. As I sat in a chair in my new office, I guess the look on my face said what my heart was feeling. The words in mind were “am I going to be able to do this? Can I actually make it on this new journey?” I tried to laugh and smile with the group, but I guess I couldn’t fool them. My co-worker looked at me and said, “don’t let it overwhelm you. You’ll learn. It gets easier.”

I even had a wonderful friend from my past journey encourage me by saying, “It’s just a learning curve. You’ve got this!!” I loved the cheering from friends and support, but it wasn’t until I took the first step on my own that I felt the confidence within me that helped me say, “I can do this. It is scary and a little intimidating, but I can do this.” I can do this and I will do this, not because I am that good, but because I have some good help along the way. I can call on them when I need help and I know they will be there to help me journey. If I fall, they will help me up and probably not even tell anyone, they will just help. That’s what good support does. That’s what good friends do. They help, they encourage. They don’t say anything negative, they just help. They help us journey through the most difficult trails.

As you read this, you too may be facing a new journey. Your journey, unlike mine, is filled with far scarier and intimidating obstacles. Bills to pay that you have never paid. Checks to write that you have never written. Phone calls to make that you are not ready to make. Tough decisions that you never wanted to make. Visiting a loved who does not even know you are present. You, too, may be sitting in a spot on a new journey and you may be wondering, “can I even do this? Can I walk this journey?” I want to assure you, as a friend assured me, it is just a learning curve. You’ve got this! However, not on your own. None of us need to journey alone. You need help. You need assistance. You need supporters who cheer from the sidelines. You need people who have walked this trail before and know where to take your next step. I can assure you that when the time comes, and you have to take that first step, or write that first check, or pay that first bill, or even go out socially for the first time alone, you can do it. You will see that it is not impossible. It is not comfortable at first, but it is doable.

I encourage you to look for some help if you need it. Don’t try to be a hero. Don’t try to be tougher than you need to be. There will be times when you can walk alone, but not at first. Allow people to walk with you.  Someone may hear the words you have never said with your mouth, but you do with your facial expressions. They may want to know if they can help. If so, simply say yes. Let them pray for you, encourage you, cry with you, hug you, hold your hand, listen to you. Saying yes does not make you weak, but it does help you take one step at a time. You may not be able to see what is beyond the curve ahead, but there are people who have traveled the journey you are traveling and they know what’s ahead and they want to help. Don’t be afraid to say, “a little help please.” Tell people what you need, then let them help.