When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for Christmas. Or camp. Or summer to come. Or for school to start. Long car rides to grandma’s house were excruciating. Or waiting for the bell to ring at 3pm.
As an adult, I haven’t changed much. I couldn’t wait to find out the gender of our first child. Or the second, third, or fourth. Then I couldn’t wait for nine months to be over. Or for my kids to be potty trained. Or to go to school.
I couldn’t wait for nap time so I could write. Or for that highly anticipated conference where I could pitch my novel. Or for that letter of acceptance. For that deadline to pass, or that release date.
I seem to always be waiting for something. But it wasn’t until I started biking a year ago that I realized there can by joy in the journey, not just in reaching the destination.
Near my house is a paved bike path that meanders through the countryside and follows the river in my hometown. It is a beautiful, calming ride. While biking one day, I realized how much I would miss if I was only focused on getting home. I would miss the turtles sunning themselves by the river. I would miss the way the wind would blow, moving the fields of wheat in waves like the ocean. I would miss the birds singing, or the bullfrogs croaking. I would be missing the wonders of my ride.
Ever since then, I have looked at areas in my life where I find I am in a hurry to reach the end. For example: I wanted to redeem this summer with my family. In the past, I couldn’t wait for everyone to go back to school, partly because I am an introvert and the chaos brought on by four loud, active children in a tiny house can drain me immensely. But this year, I chose instead to spend as much time as I could with them. It wasn’t easy, and I was tuckered out a lot. But I built memories with my kids: memories of bike rides and feeding the neighbor’s horses, of swimming along lazy rivers, of tea parties and baking cookies. The journey was a joy.
Now my kids are in school and I am looking for other ways to enjoy the journey. I have wasted too much of my past waiting for something to come. I want to enjoy what I have now. I want to enjoy the small rental house we have instead of pining for the day I own my own house. I want to enjoy writing the third book in my series instead of getting it done. I want to enjoy my husband and savor the times I have with him. These are the little joys God gives us, only sometimes we are in such a hurry we miss them.
How about you? Do you hurry toward the next thing, or do you savor what you have now? What small thing have you enjoyed today?