Today, as we began a week's vacation, we were full of excitement. Me, my husband and our kids and their kids. 6 adults and 4 tweens. We had reserved a two-bedroom condo at the beach with the promise of a spacious retreat. We were each packing enthusiastically and preparing to create memories. Bathing suits and board games, suntan lotion and boogie boards, sleeping bags and snacks. Lots of snacks.
First situation. Emily, the unexpected, is a tropical depression that is making landfall today. Today! Emily just popped up out of nowhere and turned our blue skies gray. The initial report is that Emily will take most of the week to cross the Florida peninsula. A beach vacation is the always best during a tropical depression. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) Keep packing. We can make it work.
Second situation. My son-in-law’s children’s schedules were redirected and they are no longer able to attend our family vacation. Frustrating, but we can still make the best of a challenging situation. We will miss them and take lots of pictures to share with them. Keep packing. We can make it work.
Third situation. My daughter's rear hatch on her mini-van will not latch. Try as we might, we were unable to release the lock mechanism from the 'I am already locked' position that it is stuck in. Instead of breaking it, we hurried to our trusted mechanic. Help! We are leaving on vacation in two hours and the rear door won't close. Voila! He is able to make it open, close and function. We will be able to go on vacation. The panel is off, just in case we should have to use some ingenuity, but alas...we are able to leave. We should arrive at our destination before the first rain begins to fall. Keep on packing. We can make it work.
Fourth situation. The spacious two-bedroom unit is about the size of peanut. The oceanfront view is really a sideways ocean view over a dilapidated building that is its death throes. Rusted barbed wire is waving around like a strange hairy tarantula. The parking lot for our vehicles is down the road and across the street. The dish washer (Wahoo! We have a dishwasher) is immediately under the kitchen sink. I mean immediately below the sink. Where do the pipes go, was our first question? Yes, it is unique. Unique to say the least. Let's unpack. We can make it work.
Family vacations are not always perfect. Sometimes it's not at all what you imagined and yet...you can still make memories that will last a lifetime. Emily, the unexpected, should break up by morning and our blue skies will be back. The sun will shine, the waves will break and the sand will make glorious castles.
Contentment is not always about what goes right. Sometimes it is about seeing the silver lining in a big ole giant gray cloud. It's about picking out the wonderful in a doubtful situation. It is definitely about finding JOY! Finding joy no matter the circumstances. The situation may not be ideal, but we are going to be making the most of these days, with lots of joy in the journey. Let's work it into something wonderful.
Phillipians 4: 11-13 NLT
"Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."