Leaving Cairns and the comfort of our friends' home, we decided to drive a day and find a place to camp out until we moved on. We could make our trip down south as long or short as we wanted, it was all up to us. We imagined setting up our tents right next to the beach in a quiet deserted area...no one but us and the sea.
When we start something big, most of us picture what we think will happen in our minds. We might have high hopes and a bright outlook or we might be consumed with fear and worry. For me and our two-week vacation camping out on Australia's beaches I had a little of both the bright and dark expectations. And that first day felt like a disaster.
Finally, I got Adela to go to sleep after spending thirty minutes rubbing her back (something we never do since she usually goes to sleep on her own). My husband already had our single-pot meal heated and my chair seated cozily next to his. He told me "Relax. Sit down." And all I wanted to do was find some corner of the world where I could be alone. At that moment--tired, frustrated, and with low blood-sugar--I was so upset that I wasn't amazingly happy. What happened to vacation? What happened to blue skies and happy toddlers playing on the beach? We were surrounded by motor homes, tents, and streets. I couldn't see the beach at all.
God, please help me to be happy, I prayed. And even as I let the words escape me, I realized how horribly self-centered my thoughts had become as we'd encountered stress that day.
You see, happiness is a choice. People are always saying that we are surrounded by God's blessing and yes, we are, but we have to choose to let those things fill our vision of life.
I took a deep breath and walked to my waiting chair and changed my prayer, God, Thank you for my husband, for my little family, and for this time we get to share together. I sipped a cold drink, ate a bowl of frank and beans (LOL) and the world suddenly looked rosier. My husband said that tomorrow we would find that perfect spot on the beach and that for now he was grateful that we'd gotten a good day of travel under our belts.
So, that was how vacation started. It wasn't all fun and games. We had to learn to find our happiness beyond the many days of driving, the toddler teething (all four canines and one molar), and tearing down and setting up our tents and shades and organizing camping gear.
I still look back at the first day and am amazed at how close I came to proclaiming our vacation to be very-near a torturous experience with nothing to enjoy. Honestly, that attitude was horribly shameful since I know my blessings abound.
Thank you, God!