Joyrides

Trying times can bring many different things to us as individuals.

I took a long drive today. My wife works thirds on the weekends and two of my three kids always go to their grandparent’s home for the two days. Our twelve-year-old stays secluded in his room, literally all weekend, and plays Fortnite. It is absolutely his obsession right now. I have my feelings about it, but I’ll keep them to myself. He had been up all night playing, so this morning as he and my wife slept, I went for a drive in my wife’s car. I decided to give it a thorough hand-wash inside and out while taking advantage of the sunny, and unseasonably warm day.

We live in a little town outside of the city. It is roughly a twenty to thirty-five minute drive to the city, depending on which side of it we go to. The eastside of it is where I found myself today. It has a lot of spots I have enjoyed throughout my lifetime of living within it. My parents were always together, then later splitting up, so I lived on all sides of the city many times over. Before I was married, I found myself drawn to the eastside. My early childhood and the latter part of my adult single life was spent on the eastside. I have a lot of memories within the area. Good ones. Like other times since moving to the little town my wife is from, I have taken my little drives to the city that I miss and reminisce of.

A clean, nice car, with a nice stereo system. A beautiful day in the early weeks of winter. Going for a peaceful drive. It was all very nice. I also helped my wife out by cleaning the car that she hauls three messy kids around in and has trouble maintaining because of her ongoing RA and autoimmune problems. I loved the day and I also loved being able to do a little something for my awesome wife.

I have been so down lately. Really, life can be so tough. I know things could be worse, and I also know they have been for me. I have been thinking about how bad others have it a lot recently. Although, I have been focusing so much on my own personal struggles lately. A lot more than the struggles of others.

Selflessness is something that a man had reminded me to do in the middle of my own struggles a little while back. It is a very therapeutic and beneficial practice, not only for someone else, but also for me. It is a great way to get out of a funk. When you deal with chronic anxiety, you tend to funk out a lot. So the events of today broke up the monotony of my funkish ways. Not only was the ride very therapeutic, the little favor for my wife made me happy to know that my wife would also find a little pleasure.

On Sunday mornings, my wife goes grocery shopping. She always calls me when she arrives and I go out to the car to carry things in. When she pulled up this morning, I asked how her night went as I usually do. My wife works in a hospital, and I usually hear the typical hospital stories. But this morning the first words I heard were, “I’ve had a lot of anxiety lately.” Believe me, the woman is as tough as nails, so it shocked me a little to hear her say it. As we finished up with the groceries, we held each other close and I spoke a little prayer for both of us.

Anxiety and stress are things that my wife and I have a lot of. Tacking that on top of three kids who are going through the early hormonal changes, constant appointments, one kid being home-schooled, my wife’s RA and autoimmune issues, my big dysfunctional family and my constant battle keeping myself at rest within that nightmare, on top of all of the other things that pile up, both my wife and I can become pretty dang drained. Absolutely tapped out at times.

Through it all, I keep telling myself that God has a plan that we cannot see the end of. In our trials, my wife and I sometimes have trouble holding it all together, and we both sometimes have trouble seeing just what God is doing. But for both of us, and at least two of our kids, we keep our faith. We keep going. We know that this life is only temporary, the seasons always change and no one promised life would always be peaches and cream. So, we find peace in the little things. My wife and I both take times to laugh together, do things for each other and build each other up by the little actions and words.

Life is funked up at times. Within those times, I am remembering more and more to not isolate myself, or entertain the destructive thoughts. Sometimes I have to fill my natural, habitual ways that bring on the added hell within the already occurring hell, and replace them with peaceful things. His beautiful world. Service. Good thoughts. Pleasant little things. Nice music. Simply observing our blessings and being thankful for what we have. Taking a nice ride into the city. Resetting. Relaxing. Living outside of the things that easily bombard and pull me down.

I pray that within your trials that you too find the peace that awaits. Not only do we find it in Him, we also find it in the things that He provides.

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