Each year at this time our family packs up the dog, Christmas CDs, and enough snack food to last until January, and heads out on the 14 hour drive to Phoenix.
In a world of busyness and multitasking, I credit this annual road trip with recalibrating our family’s focus on what matters. Sure, there is the inevitable, “How much longer ’til we get there?” But, the length and purpose of the journey quiets freneticism, requires disciplined focus, and invites reflection.
It is a trip that I made every year as a child. The specific destination and faces have changed as generations have passed, but the promise of family, food and laughter is the same.
However, it is not just the end point of the journey brings the renewal and joy, it is also the journey itself that feeds the spirit. Encapsulated in our van, time seems to slow. Over the hours our excited chatter gives way to music marathons ranging from Led Zeppelin to Stevie Wonder, and then, finally, to quiet contemplation of the passing landscape.
As the drive enters hour eight, nine and ten, the question of “How are you doing?” becomes more frequent. We switch drivers.
“Are you OK?”
In the reflection from the dashboard lights I can see a smile. ”Yes, I am fine.”
The question is no longer about the drive, stiffened joints or fatigue. It is about life, the passing of time and the blessing of being together.
Every year someone asks me why we don’t fly to Phoenix. I smile and tell them that we did fly one year and I prefer the drive.
I know that there is no short cut to the important journeys.
May you, your family and friends experience a renewal of spirit and connection over the Thanksgiving holiday. And, if you travel, may your journey take you where you need to go.