I’m calling this the summer of “in between.” My daughter is in between middle school and high school, this is the summer in between my son taking Drivers Ed at Vista Ridge Driving School and my daughter starting it. My husband is in between running one travel center and opening a second one in a nearby town. I spend a lot of time driving in between Flower Mound and Fort Worth for my job at Cook Children’s Medical Center. When we set sail on our first cruise with our two youngest kids this summer we’ll be cruising in between Seward, Alaska and Vancouver, BC.
I could go on and on. And I’ll bet if you began to think about it you’re “in between” a lot of people, situations, and events in your life as well.
Which is why it’s important to find joy in the journey.
For example, my commute to Fort Worth is 35 miles. When I leave home in the late morning it usually takes about 50 minutes door to door. Traffic flows, I turn on one of my favorite podcasts, and while I’m tooling along I learn something new about an interesting person, an exotic place, or some new aspect of parenting. I arrive in Fort Worth feeling as if, though I wish I didn’t have the commute, I am a more enlightened human being for having spent the time listening to something that inspires and educates me.
Now, the return trip home is a definitely a little tougher because I’m typically leaving Fort Worth at 5 o’clock and most of the time traffic does anything but flow. Which means my 50 minute commute can very easily become 90 minutes. And I’m hungry, and I’m tired, and I just want to sit down with my family for dinner…nothing gourmet, but something that involves the four basic food groups nonetheless. And I’m moving at a snail’s pace…the guy in front of me is taking advantage of the stillness and responding to a text message or calling his spouse to say he’s going to be late again for dinner, so that when the pace does pick up he’s more invested in his phone than he is in moving along. Ho hum…finding joy in the journey, right?
But you know what makes the commute worse? When I stew about it. When my negative thoughts become the words [not so nice] out of my mouth which then become actions that fester all the way home, sometimes even carrying into my kitchen when I’m sarcastically asking the kids why no one thought about starting dinner yet.
When I catch the negativity, I make a conscious decision to change my thought so I don’t go down that road. I then switch on my favorite Sirius XM station and sing along at the top of my lungs, smiling and waving to the person stuck beside me on 121 North. I intentionally choose to make the best of a situation since I cannot wave a magic wand and leave it behind.
Finding joy in the journey means allowing what is to be. We’re always going to be in between things and if we’re constantly looking ahead or reflecting back we miss the present moment and the potential for the joy; that is the journey.