We’re driving down the country headed to Motgomery, Alabama to see our friends, the Jecks. We’re going in a way that runs against many of our ideals. Instead of taking the trip slow and drinking our country in with long drafts, we’re zipping along. We’re sticking to the unnatural and boring interstates opposed to the beautiful, intriguing countryside. Right now, in fact, we’re in Louisville, just 30 minutes from Wendell Berry’s Port Royal, Kentucky, a place whose beauty and significance I have read and thought much about. But we’re not stoppin’ to see, baby. Not this trip. We’re blazing right past at 70 miles an hour. Instead of packing meals or getting supplies at small-time grocery stores we ate at a Dairy Queen and got coffees at McDonalds. Our Days Inn is within earshot of the zooming cars of I-65.
At some point, our interests and the kids’ needs come into competition. Here on this trip, their needs win. We find that as much as we need to live out what we believe, our kids have greater and more urgent pulls on our energy. They desperately need our training – a big job that takes all our attention. Suzy needs to feel protected and to be heard by her mommy and daddy. Eli needs to learn that apologizing first and then biting his brother just doesn’t fly. Isaac needs to hear when told to change his undies, “I already changed them once this week” isn’t an acceptable stance. And Leeli needs to stop every few hours for her mama’s milk, which means that the trip is long enough even on the interstates.
So instead of beholding the beauty outside our van, we’re focusing on the beauty within it. And there’s is a beauty as breathtaking as any we’re passing. And it is ours to nourish.