The best part of taking a vacation is sometimes the anticipation of its eminent arrival even more than the trip itself. The thought of being away from the everyday routine. The eager expectation of lazy afternoons sipping lemonade with no cell phone calls. The excitement of staying up late and indulging in special treats and privileges (like junk food and movies, for us!) The memories that will be made frolicking at the pool or visiting friends. All these feelings of anticipation build and build until the trip is actually in progress, and then something strange begins to happen---letdown. No, not what happens when you hear babies crying...I mean an anti-climatical sadness that this perfect trip you've anticipated for so long is somehow not perfect.
I just came home from a fishing trip with my husband, three boys, and my out of town guests (my uncle, his wife, twin five yr. old daughters, and their grandmother.) I am glad to report that I did not experience the Vacation Letdown this week. I'm not an avid fisher-woman and have really no desire to spend several days in the deep woods, among the mosquitos, covered in dirt, and eating trout for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was not eagerly anticipating this trip. Anticipating my extended family, yes, but not the trip itself. As of the writing of this post, I am fresh from the Pecos--unshowered, and covered with an inch of layered bug repellent, sunscreen, sweat, topped with the most recent layer of Judah's last meal. I'm ready for a shower...but I have been excited to share that I was blessed with a new phenomen while on this fishing trip: Vacation Revelation.
Amidst the whole lotta nothing going on up in the woods, miles from civilization, I was overcome with a remarkably romantic sense of the rugged, even a liberation in staying in the same clothes until change was absolutely necessary. I felt sheepishly delighted in letting my children get wet and muddy, catching worms and washing their hands in the river. Slimy trout in plastic bags looked like tasty confidence builders for all the little men in the family, rather than more work and tiny bones. Best of all, hanging out with my husband in the dark, under the stars became simultaneously bonding and engaging spiritually as we considered His handiwork across the vast ebony sky.
If the best part of a trip is often the anticipation beforehand, the best trip is the one whose anticipation is as sweet as its realization. To come home and let out a sigh of relief, while already planning the next time you say goodbye; that's the best feeling. "All good things come to an end," I said to Caleb, as we pulled into the driveway. "Yeah..." he said, "...except the love of God, right?" Sometimes, what a five yr. old says can be the greatest reminder: If God's love is what lasts and lasts, it doesn't really matter whether you are coming or going...the joy never ends.