Thursday, March 5, 2015

Good News and the Contrasts of Life

Vacation. One of the easiest topics to write about. In fact, it was about this same time last year that I was writing about how vacation is about "pushing the pause" button. Well now, in the midst of one of the worst winters in the history of winter, I am both happy and sad to report that we just recently returned from vacation in sunny Naples, FL. Happy because we escaped this… exchange for this...

Sad because we  had to leave that...but also sad because we came back to this:

It occurs to me, in reflecting on the before, during and after of our trip to FL, that one the marks of a truly good vacation is that it is filled with contrasts. We can so easily get busy and stuck in the routine of daily life that, if we're not careful, we can miss out on some of most amazing moments. Being struck by contrasts, though, can often wake you up to what's going on around you and open you up to really savor and enjoy the great moments God provides.

There are the obvious contrasts that come with a Massachusetts to Florida trip in February, such as huge weather extremes. (Sunshine and warmth has never felt so good!!) From icicles and ice dams to sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico. Snowmen giving way to sandcastles and princesses buried in the sand. Winter jackets, coats and hats being exchanged for bathing suits and beach towels.

And then there are also a whole lot of other, more subtle, contrasts that all mush together to to form a truly memorable, special experience. For example, the hectic schedule of daily life downshifting and almost imperceptively melting into a virtual and slowed-down blank slate of free time. Squeezing a few minutes of conversation in while racing to grab a bite to eat, versus leisurely meals and relaxed conversation.

not so leisurely


Sheep-a-snow-doodles and hungry seagulls. Snowballs and sea shells. Shoveling endless piles of snow; morning runs on endless beach sands…

And my favorite from this most recent trip: returning to the beach with the woman of my dreams, to celebrate the miraculous day 19 years earlier we were married on another beach not too far away…
Headed out to celebrate our 19th Anniversary!!
Beginning the most amazing 19 years any man could ever dream of!!
Back now from vacation, our family was reminded in a very sad way this week just how important it is to count God's blessings each and every day, because in the end the truth is that only God knows the number of our days. This week we learned that a family friend, a very kind and warm man that we've known for about six years, passed away suddenly (while on vacation) just a couple days after we returned from our our vacation. For me this is the most gripping of all contrasts--life and death, time and the end of it, the here and now and eternity.

I'm struck deeply by just how truly thankful I am for the infinite blessings God has showered me with. I'm thankful beyond words first and foremost for the contrasts & for Colette, for the boys & Chloƫ, for this incredible gift of a journey I get to enjoy with my soulmate and my family. I love you all so much...

And above all, I'm struck by just how important it is to not put off till tomorrow what needs to be done today. Especially when it comes to sharing the Good News of our Savior Jesus--who lived, died, and was resurrected for all of us, so that after our short time here on earth we can all have the opportunity for eternal life with Him. It's my hope that together we can make it possible for everyone to hear and know this most important of truths.

God bless and thanks for reading,