Today, I’ll wrap up my 2-part series on lessons I learned from our sabbatical. Since my last post, we‘ve delivered our firstborn to college. I’m tempted to write the top 10 places that moms can cry when dropping off a college freshman, but I’ll save that for another day… when it’s actually funny. In the meantime, here’s a little wisdom and family humor from our summer…
4. We don’t all appreciate the same things.
Almost 10 years ago, I went to London for the first time. I thoroughly enjoyed the Winston Churchill War Room, so I looked forward to sharing the experience with the rest of my family. I’d purchased tickets in advance and couldn’t wait to hear their reflections when we were done. Little did I know that when I pushed play on my audio tour and became engrossed in the story of the events that took place in that very building, the other 3 members of my family would skip 80% of the material. When I finally came to the end of the exhibit and turned in my headphones, I walked outside and learned they’d timed me… they’d been waiting for me for 51 minutes. Lesson learned: I can’t make my family like what they don’t, so we made some adjustments and allowed space for different preferences in our schedule.
5. Problems don’t disappear because you change location.
No matter how far you travel or how pretty your view, life is complicated. You’re in complete denial if you think you can out run your troubles. The problems the Conlees had before we left town weren’t magically cured because we left the 901. While it looks like our children are angels and love each other in all the pictures, that isn’t always true. The beauty of our time away was we could focus on just our set of issues, not everyone else’s… but we still had days when people were grumpy and less than enjoyable. You must walk – and talk – through issues in families… you can’t out run them.
6. Perspective is everything.
The benefit of disappearing is you remember what’s important and what isn’t. Family and making memories often get squeezed into the leftover energy once we’ve tackled all the other things screaming for our attention. When you step away from the normal pace of life, you realize how unimportant some of those urgent things really are. Whether you can sneak away for a day or an hour, ask God to give you His perspective on what matters. Ask Him what’s important and plan your days on those things. There will always be necessary things that unexpectedly need your attention on occasion… but if your day-to-day plan keeps you focused on the important, you’ll be on the right path.
With summer behind us and with a new start to the school year, may we all ask for God’s perspective!