Got My Bags Packed!
My first word was, "GO!" I have always liked going … anywhere! So marrying a man in the military fit me well, as we have traveled often and far in our 31 years of marriage. Jody and I love to travel! We find excitement in going and exploring new places together. We both love museums, historical sites, good food, and luxurious hotels. We are perfect traveling partners!
Over the years and the many, many miles that we have traversed together, Jody and I have developed our own unique travel system - each of us has perfected a role that supports and enhances our travels. In general, Jody handles the agenda for after we arrive. Jody loves to learn all about the place we are to visit and will often read any number of books before our trip so that he is as well versed as any tour guide. He then decides what are the best sights, restaurants, and local points of interest. His plans are always great, and we have never had a bad trip. Planning is half the fun for my husband, and I am thankful!
I, on the other hand, handle travel arrangements and the packing. I can pack everything Jody needs for a week's vacation in a small duffel; leaving the bulk of the checked luggage for my things. He's a simple guy, and I like to keep him that way. In contrast, I often include 5 pairs of shoes for just a weekend getaway! From years of practice, I have travel websites on lock down and can navigate reservation systems without a hiccup. Out of necessity, and over many years, I have mastered the skill of packing a “Mary Poppins-type” handbag for every trip. In it I carry every conceivable airline-approved gizmo. And when we fly, I also keep in my bag the plane tickets, reading material, an extra set of reading glasses for Jody, both of our headsets, and numerous snacks. I know exactly what kind of snacks Jody likes for when we travel, which, by the way, are completely different from his movie selection snacks and his by-the-pool snacks – he is quite complex! To keep up his mood and the “hangry” away, and to make traveling more enjoyable, I have committed his preferences to memory. So, I guess traveling with Jody could be compared to traveling with an adorable 54 year-old toddler, minus the diaper changing … for the time being. 😊! So, I am busy packing and keeping us together, comfortable and on track during the travel, then Jody steps back into the lead once we arrive.
But above all, Jody and I love spending time together on a mission for fun! Our next big adventure is to Scotland in the summer of 2018 to attend a wedding in a castle! Jody has already began preparing and is looking to buy a kilt.
It took years for Jody and I to perfect our travel system. After our first few trips, we were both honest with each other in critiques about what worked and what didn't. And, we were kind in our suggestions about how to improve the next vacation. Jody and I knew we wanted to perfect traveling together and devoted the time needed to make it enjoyable for both of us. For us, traveling is a time of unity in that we are going somewhere together, with a single purpose, totally dependent on each other, and most importantly, on God. This can be true in the life of your marriage as well! You and your spouse need to be together and headed on an enjoyable journey toward something. In order to do this, develop your own systems or strategies. Look for stress-free ways you can together accomplish goals that are completely unique to you! Consider each other’s strengths and divide and conquer. Do this thorough conversation, prayerful planning and established intent. You can’t “wing your way” through life, hoping that things will work out.
Now, I love a spontaneous adventure as much as the next girl, but I don't want the entirety of my life to be such. Jody and I do and have discussed the plans for almost everything. Early on, we discussed what concepts did we wanted our children to embrace during their childhood and what holiday traditions did we want to incorporate into our family in order to bring a sense of family unity and a dependence on God. Later, we discussed what joint physical fitness goals we wanted and what financial security goals we believed we needed, and we discussed how each would contribute to meet this accomplishment. Each discussion added an additional layer of strength to our friendship and knit our lives more tightly together. But most important, and in each phase of our life together, we discussed how we could together grow spiritually and how we could be used by God for His kingdom. This spiritual walk we have taken together has been the key to our happy, fulfilling, and gospel-filled marriage. Our spiritual growth and pursuit of God is a common topic of our conversation, meditation and prayer. We are heaven-bound and not citizens of this earth, and we remind each other of this daily.
In his book, The Four Loves, CS Lewis wrote, "Those who are going nowhere can have no fellow travelers." It follows then that if you are not on the move, those next to you can be called fellow sitters and not travelers, right? But I jest. What I believe Lewis means is that you are only going to be moving forward if you know which direction you want to go. Knowing where your final destination is will help you plan the journey. And only then can someone come along side you. In life, your spouse is your constant travel partner. So, where are the two of you off to? If you are a Jesus follower, your ultimate destination is heaven and an eternity with God, so be active in your preparation for heaven! If, however, you are just ambling through life and looking only for spontaneous adventure, you may miss the ultimate trip! Please know that the Spirit’s desire is to use you, through prayer and personal accountability, in developing your travel partner. At times, this looks like work. It is! It is just like the work we do when we prepare for one of our trips together. The work is necessary. In a way, CS Lewis implies in the fellow traveler statement that if you are not interested in the work, you will never be taken on the journey – and you may never entice others to join you as well. He tells us that there are some lonely souls who desire friendship, but never show themselves friendly, never invest in others, and thus never have true friends. Lewis is talking about friendship, but his statement is just as true for marriage. If you are only interested in a Hallmark version of marriage, you may find the reality of the experience distasteful and bail out at the first sign of trouble. But please don’t! Consider your marriage a journey, requiring work and planning, that leads to the best destination ever – heaven and eternity with God!
Don't quit reading my friend, and don't quit your most important adventure. Clasp hands with your spouse and keep running your race towards Jesus. You will be amazed by the wonderful places you will go, the plans God has for you and the number of sojourners you will attract along the way. Thank you for traveling with me to a truly word washed life.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Philippians 3: 20-21