Posted in empty nest, Life, travel

Words for Wednesday: the journey

An unknown sage once said, “Life is a journey, travel it well.”

In the early years of our marriage, Papa and Mama were just young’uns in our 20’s, fresh out of college and embarking on careers. Papa was a military man and Mama wrote and edited daily newspaper articles when we lived on the plains of southwestern Oklahoma, half a country away from our natal families.

After a Colorado vacation in the fall of 1979, our long getaway trips for a few years included journeys back east to visit our families. And since Papa’s family lived a good 200 miles away from Mama’s family in our home state, a portion of our vacation time was spent on the road driving.

Those trips were filled with days of visiting relatives, friends, and just enjoying time with our parents. Going back ‘home’ became a good respite for us, away from military life and the day in and day out job stresses.

In between those long 23-hour journeys back to our home state though, we also jaunted off on nearby excursions to “see what we could see” since we were a childless couple for almost five years.

Weekend trips to Dallas, Texas for sightseeing, shopping, and fun. Jaunts to view western artwork at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City or to dine in popular and unique restaurants with friends in the city. Exploring Tulsa to experience what was then toted as the “oil capital of the world.”  Enjoying a change of scenery in the Ouachita Mountains in the southeastern part of the state. 

We attempted to expand our horizons beyond the seemingly endless prairie that appeared on all sides of us. A caveat of my job as an entertainment and arts reporter/assistant editor was the many opportunities to attend musical concerts, theater productions, and art exhibitions.  

Looking back on those times over four decades ago, just the two of us led a busy lifestyle. Times have changed; obviously, we have aged; but now it’s just the two of us once again since all our offspring flew out of the home nest several years ago.

We embarked on quite a journey to arrive at this stage of life. A journey that steered us far from the comfort of our hometowns and the bosom of our families to locales we never dreamed we would land. But that journey prepared us well for standing on our own two (well, four) feet without a safety net of family to rely upon. Just the two of us.

Life’s journey carried the two of us way beyond the boundaries of our beginnings.

For Papa, a stint in a foreign country on the other side of the world occurred while Mama kept the home fires burning and delivered our first child. After a total of five years living in the plains, our boundaries expanded to another eight adapting to civilian life in the Midwest only to once again broaden our horizon with a major change relocating to the Pacific Northwest for several years.

Finally, after all those journey highs and lows from one side of America to the other, we followed the path ‘back’ to our home state 20-some years ago. And now we journey from here – our country home.

Our travels now transport us to places we choose to visit for sightseeing, new experiences, and scenic spots to photograph.

Recently as we stopped at a traffic signal in a nearby town, I noticed a cling on the back of a vehicle (pictured at the beginning of this post) in front of us and snapped a photo of it with my cell phone.

The message – May God bless you on your journey – caused me to contemplate life’s pathways and especially the route Papa and I have explored from our wedding day until now 40+ years later.

We all understand that life truly is a journey. There are twists and turns along the way. There are mountain top highs and deep valley lows.

At times, there is ecstatic happiness while at other times, extreme sorrow. There are periods of health and moments of illness. Cycles of success greet us, yet failures and disappointments afflict us also.  

For some, the journey of life is a long, difficult road seemingly full of curses they must endure yet others seem to sail through life with sunshine on their shoulders, easy peasy.

“In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom and find the blessing in every curse.” ~ Anthon St. Maarten

Papa and I have had our share of both encouraging and disheartening pathways, but in all circumstances – whether they be beneficial and joyous or difficult downfalls – we feel blessed by God, our Father and Creator.

Why? Because we can always find something for which to be thankful. We are grateful. We cherish each day of life’s journey and acknowledge in prayerful thanksgiving the Giver of that pilgrimage.

My hope is that you too find reasons for gratitude in your life. May you be blessed by God’s boundless grace and love on your own journey as well.

“Life is a journey, not a home; a road, not a city of habitation; and the enjoyments and blessings we have are but little inns on the roadside of life, where we may be refreshed for a moment, that we may with new strength press on to the end – to the rest that remaineth for the people of God.” ~ Horatius Bonar

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