Good Advice + Good People= a good life
My dad is pretty awesome. He is one of those people you like almost immediately because his personality draws you in, making you feel significant even if you are merely a stranger. He has a great sense of humor and a cool confident swag. I am honored to be his daughter. We have always had a good relationship and if there was an issue it is mostly because we are so much alike. My favorite quality that I received from him was the ability to affirm people with positive words, reminding them how important they are, highlighting their strengths rather than their weaknesses. He has always been very positive, saying just right things to help me maintain a healthy level of confidence. I always love hanging out with my dad, and as a teenager we would spend the weekends together at least twice a month. Though my parents were divorced, they always maintained a friendship which made it even easier for us to maintain a good relationship.
There is so much that can happen in one day. The experiences that you have within a day can change your life forever. I try to take at least one day trip per month. In fact, I can credit day trips to saving my sanity when I need a change of location or a quick getaway. Over the past seven years, those day trips have amounted to life changing experiences. Whether by train, plane, or automobile, taking a day away to reflect, meet new people, and cover new ground has been so rewarding. For example, while living in Brooklyn back in 2003 I took a day drip to New Haven, CT. Me, Taylor and her famous Maclaren Stroller boarded the Metronorth train at Grand Central, bound for a day adventure. Having never traveled to New Haven, I was interested in touring that famous university set in the heart of downtown. Little did I know that a simple day trip would expand my territory regarding politics and ambition more than I ever expected. I met an older gentlemen on the train and we struck up an interesting conversation about politics and religion. He was a former academic and scholar turned business man. The conversation was thought provoking and I was somewhat converted (but we will talk about that later) to a different way of thinking. He treated me and Taylor to savory burgers at a restaurant at the top of the Omni where we were able to overlook the university. It was beautiful and years later, that restaurant is still my favorite spot in NH. Needless to say, seven years later I live two blocks from that restaurant and I still remember that meeting. It is funny how time away from your comfort zone can expand your horizons and taste buds for new things, new people and new opportunities.
I love to travel. Movement has always served as an adrenalin rush for me. I prefer the train because it is always moving in one direction. Though it pauses for a bit along the way there is a set destination and psychologically movement allows me to have a sense of direction. Perhaps it is the freedom and the anticipation of the next thing. Staying in one place allows for a sense of monotony. Traveling also allows for new experiences and new people. It helps me to breathe.
I love the train because I can move at a fast pace without doing any of the work. Looking at the beautiful scenery outside the window is refreshing. I have traveled often via train between the three different cities over the past seven years: New York, Boston and New Haven. Each city bringing a new set of challenges and experiences. I would not change a thing about the places I have been or the people I have met along that way. I once took the train when Taylor was a baby from New York to Chicago and back again. On the way back to New York, the train was stopped at around ten o’clock that night. When we woke up the next morning we were in that same spot. I was not upset because our train was delayed, or because I was worried about traveling with my young child, but because we were stopped in the same spot without movement for such a long time. The stagnation was almost paralyzing. I am constantly seeking ways to move. However, sometimes a period of standing still is important for growth. I was grateful that we eventually made it to our destination at the appointed time with everything in tact. I must learn to appreciate those times. Standing still waiting for movement is an inevitable part of life.
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. ~Robert Louis Stevenson
What would you do if you knew that even though you suffer at times and feel pain or discomfort, that someone was right there to intercept that pain? Though you may feel it in the natural realm, your spirit is not crushed, because you know that someone was there to intercept it for you. That is how I felt today after a visit to the dentist with my daughter. Taylor had a MAJOR meltdown; biting, kicking, and screaming. All the while I was being berated by the dentist for not having her teeth in the “perfect” tip top shape. Taylor has a beautiful smile, and I brush her teeth daily. However, she was angry because the cleaning was difficult. She was so angry that a major autistic meltdown ensued. It was a tough experience, but similar to several that I have experienced in the past.
This meltdown left me feeling extremely embarrassed and sad. By the time we arrived home Taylor was over the ordeal. She moved on and began anticipating her next snack. However, the negative feelings still lingered with me. But after a couple hours I was fine. I no longer felt defeated or melancholy. Without me any notice, the burden had been lifted, and I was able to move on. That is how God does it. Suddenly our burdens are lifted, leaving new and fresh ground. Holy ground.
Isaiah 53:4-6 (New International Version, 2011)
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
When I close my eyes and imagine you I am blown away. Your presence alone renders me weak and speechless. I close my eyes and imagine you and me. Perfect. Beautiful. Holding hands. Embraced. The slightest touch makes me smile. I beam with joy. Perfect. This daydream in perfect, because you are perfect. I am afraid to open my eyes, because then it would no longer be real. This perfect thing. Us. Together. I have not felt this happy since that bike ride on the vineyard. Satisfied. Safe. Loved. Beautiful.
My eyes open. You are still there. Your presence is always there. You said you would never leave me nor forsake me. Thank you Lord.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
The most difficult situations can teach us a lesson. It is what educators refer to as a “teachable moment.” I learned a lot from watching Disney movies with my daughter Taylor. After watching them nearly five times a day, I have found valuable lessons in each of her favorite films. From the Little Mermaid I learned that a woman should never lose her voice in a relationship. Eventually she will need to speak.
From the Princess and the Frog I learned that sometimes prince charming can turn into a frog and sometimes a frog can turn into a prince. Basically, what is on the inside is what matters the most because looks can be deceiving. I learned a very valuable lesson from the movie Finding Nemo. Our parents are important and even though we think we may know what is best, disobedience can get us in a lot of trouble, even as adults. Nemo was disobedient and ended up captured and swimming in an unknown place. His disobedience and rebellion almost cost him his life. It was only by grace that he was able to find his way home. Learning from our experiences is an important part of life. If we allow ourselves to, perhaps we can learn the lesson before we make the mistake. Good Lessons + Good Experiences = A Good Life
Wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 24:14)