Friends of ours took a trip recently, and blessed the rest of us land-locked souls by posting the highlights of their journey to social media.
It was really delightful to follow along, living vicariously through their pictures of beautiful and amazing places and new and wonderful experiences (and food, oh the food!).
On their last post, they left one golden piece of advice: travel, travel, travel! Words to live by.
But then, the reality of my own life hit me: I have never traveled just for the sake of traveling. (Well, hardly ever...one vacation to PEI when I was twelve, a few Labour Day weekend jaunts to Saint John and a handful of mountain and ocean day trips definitely count, but that's the extent of it.)
I've never even left North America. I've crisscrossed this great country more times than I can count, both by land and by air, but each trip had a purpose, whether we were moving lock, stock and barrel for a new job or getting home for Christmas or performing two hundred and fifty concerts in ten months...there wasn't much time for sightseeing.
To be perfectly honest, I've never even wanted to travel much until quite recently. (Then I joined a website that posts unbelievably beautiful pictures of Australia...) And even after I had been bitten by the travel bug, I was able to put it off quite comfortably and contentedly. Now I'm wondering why.
I think I know. For me, it's all about beauty - that's what feeds my soul, what gives me joy, what makes my heart sing. And I never have to go far to find it. Beauty is everywhere, everywhere - if you know how to look.
In the glory of sunrise and sunset; in the eyes of my sons; in the simple intricacy of a spring violet; in joyful birdsong; when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity; in tears of joy; in well-chosen words; in a deep belly laugh and a star-lit sky and the crash of waves on sand. Life is beautiful.
Any maybe it's true that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" - I never really thought about it like that before. Maybe it's less about what we see than how we see it.
My hope is that I will have a chance to see beauty in other parts of the world someday. I know the experience would be enriching and broadening and altogether delightful.
But even if I never have the opportunity, I choose to be content. I choose to seek joy right where I am. This is the gift.
Never lose an opportunity for seeing anything that is beautiful;
for beauty is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament.
Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower.
And thank God for it as a cup of His blessing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson