I wasn't raised in West Texas, but I have a great appreciation for its wide open spaces. I was reminded of this when I drove through West Campus at UT this past week and noticed the hair's width of sunlight trying to peak between the numerous apartment buildings, sorority and fraternity houses, and the businesses that are all elbowing one another for space.
And for me, that love translates from space between houses to space on my calendar. I'm not fond of having events back-to-back night after night. But sometimes a busy calendar can't be avoided. The past two weeks have been an example of that.
The trip over Memorial Day weekend to see my mother was a top priority because neither my sister nor I had been able to spend Mother's Day with our mother. My sister and I had a wonderful time on our road trip down south, stopping at local bakeries along the way even though we already had cupcakes from The Cupcake Cottage in tow. What can I say; we brake for bakeries.
While we were home, we looked at pictures from my mom's recent trip to the Holy Land and heard her version of the trip, tried a new local restaurant that serves great sandwiches (and has yummy sweets as well), and made a trip to San Antonio to do a little belated Mother's Day shopping.
One of the highlights of the trip was worshipping at a church other than the one I grew up in. The church body was small in number but exuded amazing faith and authenticity. A guest speaker had been scheduled to speak that day but asked to come at a later date because the body had just lost one of its members to cancer. The worship that morning celebrated her life as well as the life we all have in Christ. It was beautiful to witness how this body of believers does life together. And it was great afterwards to get to drop in on some family friends before hitting the road to return.
My sister and I returned to Cowtown late Sunday night, and she flew back to California on Memorial Day. I unpacked, did laundry, and geared up for a short work week (that included training two interns in less than two days) and another trip south--this time for a work seminar. The seminar is one of two that are held each year that is specifically related to my field, so I felt that I needed to attend, despite the bad timing. And so I went.
The second trip made me realize how infrequently I travel now that I'm no longer an auditor. There was a time when I traveled 13 weeks during an 11-month period. Thankfully, that isn't the case anymore. But I must say that I recognized anew the perks of traveling for work: staying in a nice hotel where someone else makes the bed, where a sign actually asks me to leave my towels on the floor so that housekeeping will know to put out fresh clean ones, where a newspaper awaits at my door each morning and Starbucks beckons me from the lobby with iced green tea each afternoon, and where the view looked like this:
Not bad for the government rate!
I have come to recognize that my desire for wide open spaces on my calendar is simply another way that my desire to control things manifests itself. I want to be able to decide when I go and where I go, but mandatory events inked on the calendar chip away at that control. It's not a pretty picture and can cause me to miss out on the great views that God wants to give me, if only I would freely let Him be in charge of the calendar and the pen and stop trying to wrestle Him each time some back-to-back events hit the schedule.