Before we began our family road trip last summer, I thought about how I’d never been to the Grand Canyon. I thought about how exciting it would be to go places I’d never been, to see things I’d never seen. I even thought about how we’d deal with the heat and the elevation.
However, it did not occur to me that I should worry about coming home and how that would require us to descend from the elevation for which I’d prepared so thoroughly.
What I’m saying is that driving down the mountains in Colorado just about did me in.
Now, I should clarify: I was not the one doing the driving. My husband drove us, just as he had the entire week leading up to this moment. He drove us out of the Rocky Mountains, and we did, in fact, arrive at our destination safely. But I doubted him and the likelihood of our safe arrival every mile of the way.
I shouldn’t have. We were fine, probably never actually in danger. But it was just a lot of downhill and curves and more assertive driving than I prefer. And if we had a dollar for every heavy sigh or bug-eyed glare I tossed out as I held on to my door handle for dear life, well, we definitely could have paid for our vacation that way.
That drive terrified me, but I couldn’t help but notice that my kids had no such problem. They sat in the back seat, unconcerned and unaware of the drama going on up front. Busy with their tablets and toys, they barely looked up unless we forced them to (which we did frequently throughout the trip, demanding they ooh and aah at the mountains and trees and rivers).
I could see what was happening on the road and believed I had some kind of control over the driver. My kids, on the other hand, knew they had no control over what was happening — and didn’t care because 1) they trusted the driver and 2) they weren’t staring at the curves in front of us.
It took me several hours to notice this difference. (As you may have picked up on, I was pretty well consumed with fear for our lives and determination to force my husband into riding the brakes all the way down the mountain.) But once I did, I could not deny that the whole situation felt familiar.
When I planned our family vacation last summer, I thought maybe I’d be awed by God as I stood in front of the Grand Canyon or desperate for His help as I spent so much time with my family in close quarters. I didn’t anticipate seeing Him and His Truth in the in-between and small moments. But like He so often does, that’s where He showed up for me most. I’d love to share what I learned with you. Join me at (in)courage for the rest of this article.