The trip we’re on now and our last trip have taken us through many states. We are blessed to have friends and family across the country. What a joy to be able to steal some time and enjoy catching up in person with these wonderful people. How often do we make the offer “if you’re ever in our area, call and we can meet somewhere”, or “I’d love to meet up with you if you’re ever in my town”? When you make the statement, are you just offering lip service – being polite? It is interesting to watch how those offers evolve. “Call/contact me if you’re in our area” – contact made – “well, maybe we can work something out – let me know what days and times you will be here” – dates and times offered – “well, I’m sure we can make something work” or time/date arranged – only to be cancelled before said time. Obviously, there are situations where there just isn’t enough time or extenuating circumstances – but those are….obvious.
On the flip side – how delightful to contact someone – or have them contact you – and here “let’s get together – name the time and place. You come to us, we’ll come to you, or we can meet in the middle. How about today or tomorrow?” This has been the majority of our experience. Gracious hospitality, warmth and welcome – and the joy of reconnecting. Sharing memories and catching up since we were last together. It has been a profound lesson in hospitality, making offers, and follow through. We are indeed blessed to have such friends in our lives.
One of the things we realize as we travel is the difficulty in serving others. It is hard to be involved in any volunteer activities in a hands-on capacity. I recently completed a 7-day happiness challenge offered by Max Lucado. The challenges involved acts of kindness towards others – and the reward was a deeply satisfying sense of happiness. I highlighted for me how difficult it can be to seek out opportunities to engage in random and intentional acts of kindness while on the go. Some things are really easy – smiling and encouraging strangers, expressing sincere gratitude to others that are in serving occupations. Others are more difficult – being aware of a situation that exists in which you can offer assistance, intentional service activities, etc. I am enjoying the challenge of the challenge, though. I’m thinking it’s time to dig out the sticky notes and start leaving random notes of encouragement again.
Another lesson – is to let go of assumptions and preconceived notions. Let go and open your heart and mind to what you find as you experience a new place. Assumptions and preconceived notions have the potential to lead to disappointment. Not inviting them to the table clears the way to appreciate the moment.
As I’ve said before – I realize what a privilege and blessing our lifestyle is. There are no words to express the gratitude for the experiences and people we have and are enjoying. God’s grace is indeed amazing. Right now, the best we can do is express kindness and appreciation to the people and places we encounter.