It’s late here in KC. We hit the ground last night after eight days in Florida. Little noses and cheeks are peeling but hearts are full.
For many reasons, this trip hit at a perfect time for us. Not because vacations fully satisfy, they don’t.
But this trip gave us the space to process, dream, evaluate, adventure, and heal. It allowed us to not only wrestle with weighty questions we’re facing as a family but find clarity on some of them as well.
It’s funny how physical spaces flood our emotional capacity. Florida in particular holds some deep, tender memories for us.
We lived there for a little over a year. I’ve written before that the year we spent there wasn’t always easy, the sun wasn’t always shining.
But returning to that same place, seeing our old neighbors, driving by that little school, seeing those same waves hit the shore provided something we didn’t even know we were looking for.
Turns out we are still chasing a story that hasn’t fully developed.
See, I’m a recovering play-it-safer. Our year in Florida was our first big adventure as a family, and it didn’t end with a walk-off grand slam. It felt more like taking a called strike three.
At the time, walking back to that dugout was a pill that had more bitterness in it than joy. We thought it should have gone a different way, should have been easier, and other shoulda-coulda type stuff.
Following that experience, I was tempted to play it safe again. Squash the dreams. Quit the writing. End the adventures.
Ten months after we walked off the field when our inning in Florida ended, we found ourselves in that familiar territory. And it reminded us to keep dreaming. Keep writing. Keep exploring.
Even if we don’t know how the story unfolds. Especially if we don’t know how the story unfolds.
Someone wiser than me once said, “everything you want is on the other side of fear.” I’m not sure I buy the statement fully, but I agree wholeheartedly that fear holds me back far more than it propels me. It chokes me more than it protects me. It consumes me more than it comforts me.
The day before we left for this vacation, a piece I wrote for a parenting project that The TODAY Show is running started to pick up some momentum. It resonated with the readers of their site.
Out of curiosity, the morning after we arrived in Florida, I watched most of their show that day to see if they’d mention this contest by chance.
They didn’t say anything about it then (possible cool news coming this week so stay tuned), but I watched this random indie group from Australia – Sheppard. Maybe you’ve heard of them, I hadn’t. I’m often late to the music party unless Taylor Swift is involved.
Perhaps it was the woman’s blue hair or the dude’s sweet voice, but I was hooked. Music is part-magic, part-mystery. I knew the second I heard them perform “Geronimo” that it would be a song that marked this trip for us.
A song that would speak into our family’s journey and signify the deeper things that are stirring. A song that would be an anchor for our jumping off point.
I immediately bought that song, and indeed, we played it on repeat almost the entire last week. In the house, in the car, at the beach, at the pool.
It’s a love song (what song isn’t) but one lyric kept echoing around in my brain all week. “So it’s here I stand, as a broken man. But I’ve found my friend, at the curtains of the waterfall.”
Our vacation felt a lot like that.
It gave me the space to realize that even though there is brokenness in me, it’s worth it to stand at the edge of that powerful, roaring waterfall again.
With my friend Brooke by my side, with our kids watching.
These questions kept me up at night last week:
“What would look different about us if we quit hoarding our ambition, our dreams, our encouragement, our hope? What if we cannon-balled into the deep end instead of tiptoed into the shallow?
Watching our kids play at the ocean and the pool all week cemented the fact that kids play from the heart. They do cannonballs with their lives.
Adults, speaking for me at least, play it safe. We tiptoe. We don’t speak up. We squash our dreams. We withhold affection.
Maybe it’s the relief of a great vacation, but maybe it was the push we needed.
So for our family…