Yesterday Greg and I took advantage of having no Sunday obligations. It’s been years since we could do this – in fact – we never could because of church staff positions all of our married life – and even going back to childhood. I don’t mean that we never got Sunday’s off – but they were seldom – usually limited to two a year. Now we take off whenever we want. Much of this is because with Greg’s job he is ‘on call’ 24/7 for emergency funeral services and even last-minute weddings – and when you’re self-employed – you keep your cell phone ON and don’t turn away any work. This has been our life now for the past year and a half – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. So when we get a day that I’m not teaching – we often jump in the car and just GO!
Because our weather has been unusually cold this year (we’re even having to turn our heat on in July) we longed to ‘chase the sun’ and find out where summer had gone. Everyone told us – “go over the pass and you’ll find it there” – so we jumped in the car and headed out to find summer.
Going over the mountain pass is a higher elevation and the weather soon dropped down into the 50’s – not too much different from Seattle – but that 5 or 10 degrees can make a big difference – especially because we dressed for ‘summer’ and had high hopes.
After an hour or so and now out of the mountain pass – we discovered that the temperature was only in the upper 60’s – not too much different from Seattle. These little towns were usually HOT this time of year! What in the world is going on??? – we thought. Good Grief. And to top it off – it’s REALLY WINDY in Ellensburg – which added to the chill in the air. Well – we didn’t want to drive another hour to Yakima – where the weather ‘promised’ to be a balmy 75 degrees or so – so we had lunch – in the wind – and drove back stopping at a fruit stand to buy some cherries.
As we headed back over the pass to Seattle – it started raining – perfect for the 4th of July – nothing like a little cold and rain when watching those fireworks. Our searching brought us nothing – and we came back exhausted from the ‘chase’ and wondered why we even went at all.
I got to thinking about this. We sometimes ‘chase’ things in our lives – opportunities, family connections, approval and wealth – only to realize that once we are done with the chase – we are often left with disappointment and even resentment at the things ‘lost’ – things that we could not claim. There are things we can’t ‘chase’ after – and sometimes we spend a lifetime discovering that. And sometimes – the things we were ‘chasing’ after – don’t really exist at all. What is real and permanent in our lives – and what will last – and what is important – are the things closest to us. Not the ‘great unknown’ that we often look for and try to find. All the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’ can play around in our head if we’re not careful – and our fantasy life can become very real to us – causing us to lose sight of what is right in front of us – all along.
I believe we do need to go after our dreams and dream BIG – but I also believe that there are some things we cannot chase after in this life – and there are roads we should not go down to find them. Take a look around you and find the ‘secret’ of being content that the Bible talks about and your eyes will open up to discover wonderful things that are right in front of you. It is only when we are ‘content’ not to ‘chase’ other pathways – that we begin to find the secret of being truly happy and fulfilled.
Oh – and that cold and rainy weather for the 4th? It stopped raining but it was chilly enough that the men in our family built a fire – and we sat around it down at the lake to watch fireworks with family that live here – and out-of-town. It was cozy and warm and fun – and we made smores and laughed together. We would not have had that opportunity if it had been hot.
Some things we ‘chase’ are not worth ‘chasing’ – no matter how cold and raining it may seem. There is always a blessing – even in the storm.