The family resemblance becomes more striking every time we travel. Each vacation evokes images of the Grizwold clan with its quarks, disasters, and ensuing escapades. So it is for us, and the beginning of our trip to Lake Tahoe marked the start of yet another Griz-Wallace family adventure! Luggage heaped on people, and people stacked on people, the six of us plus our neighbor piled into our SUV for the trip to the airport. James slowly recovered from the fact that I dumped the coffee before he got his refill for the road. Samantha sat sideways on my lap, seatbelt snuggling both bodies. Elly slightly visible in the very back. A mere 15 minutes behind schedule. A great start! Rolling into the street, all was smooth sailing, until our speed exceeded fifteen miles per hour. A sound like bending metal vibrated the vehicle.
“What is that noise?!?!” Eyebrows elevated. Nervous smiles spread. Questioning looks exchanged.
The greater the speed, the louder the groan. No warning lights on the dash. No external signs of steel bending or falling apart.
The verdict: The strap holding the golf clubs to the ceiling of the car cut the wind, whining ferociously the faster we drove. No need to stop. No need to assess the security of the strap job. Oh no! Just plow forward, Griz-Wallaces! Load checks through the sunroof every few seconds will do the trick. Raise your voice a bit if you have something to say, and we’re good to go! And pray that nothing goes flying from the roof when we hit the beltway!
Never a dull moment. For that I am thankful, actually. Most of the time. Although, a dull moment every once in a while is a glorious thing. But if it lasts too long, then it’s wrong. Something feels off. The way I feel when a vacation leaves me out of my groove with God. Off.
Morning quiet times filled with extra hours of sleep. Solitary time with God replaced with home-cooked hot breakfast, family banter, and pressure to get to the attraction of the day. God doesn’t go anywhere. It’s me. In taking a week off from life as I know it, I find myself neglecting the very things that make life anywhere worth living. Even life on vacation.
I find myself feeling a bit empty. Agitated. In need of His peace. In need of a return.
He beckons. His grace calls. He opens my eyes to His glory all around me. To His presence always there. To Him. And to the fact that it’s not a designated time of day or amount of time spent with Him that keeps me close. It’s a constant awareness of Him. A constant turning to Him. A constant dialogue. A heart turned to Him no matter where I am or what schedule I keep. And making time, even if it’s just a little, to read His word. To absorb His truth. To sit with Him at the start of my day so the rest of my day can reflect Him.
Snow falls. Flames dance in the fireplace. Elly builds snowmen on the balcony railing. The older girls read Christian novels on their various electronic devices. Ryan details his latest business idea, while James practices his golf swing in the bedroom. It’s a tame Griz-Wallace day. Our last day in Lake Tahoe. Nowhere to go. Nothing to do.
I smile. Inside and out.
God is good. His mercy endures forever. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. His grace awaits where our pride would hold a grudge. He is ever present when we are quick to jump ship. His arms wide open when ours are crossed in defiance.
It is an invitation to return. His goodness for my repentance (Romans 2:4). His kindness that I might seek His forgiveness and His face. A reminder that no matter what the intensity of extended togetherness reveals about our family dynamics, no matter how many do-over moments that togetherness demands, I want to extend the same to my Griz-Wallace family. Every quirky one of them.
Lord, please continue Your sanctifying work in me, on vacation and as we settle back into our routine. Make me more wholly Yours every day.