A Community Reunion
Spring Break is one of our most looked-forwarded to times of the year. For almost the girls' whole lives, we head to the coast with Kevyn's family for a week of sand, wind, and waves.
Each year, Kevyn's parents generously rent out a large house to sleep all of the uncles, aunts, and cousins, usually ranging around 10 to 15 people. It can get cramped some years, but the blessings of being around family, making wonderful memories, and the gorgeous views far out weigh any inconveniences.
This year's travel plans were significantly different now that we are two states away. However, we timed it so we got to see a few friends along the way before heading out to Dillon Beach with the family.
We were blown away at the views of our beach house this year. We typically stay at houses that are directly on the beach or a row of houses away—making quick strolls to the beach at any time a pleasant treat. But this time, we were up in the hills at Dillon Beach. Although we lost the instant access to the sand, we gained an incredible view of where Tomales Bay and Bodega Bay meet.
Sipping our morning brew on the porch, as the fog burned off to reveal the coast, was a daily ritual. After which, we had different plans each day for hiking, exploring, and relaxation.
Some days we went down to the beach for a leisurely stroll, while we talked about life, and on others we drove around to seek adventure. One day we went out to the Point Reyes Lighthouse to climb down and back up the insanely steep 313 steps. We saw whales and dolphin pods, and even some elk roaming the pennisula's hills. Then each evening we came together to share a meal and play games.
Game nights, like with most families, were a raucous affair. We had zealous players, indifferent players, grumpy players, and those that really hate losing. But out of all the games, each year, we take shifts to put together a large puzzle that always seems to be completed on the last night for all to enjoy and marvel. This year, it was a particularly special puzzle. One of Kevyn's nieces used photos of previous beach trips to create a custom collage jigsaw. Memories were relived as each image was assembled.
It wasn't all sunshine and ocean breeze
A day or so leading up to the trip, I was not feeling well. I'll spare you the details, but let's say I couldn't be too far from a toilet. Since it wouldn't go away by the time we had to leave, it made the 14hr road trip even longer, as I needed to capitalize on as many highway rest areas as possible.
Once settled into the beach house, and an established regimen of Imodium, I felt much more comfortable exploring the coast with everyone. Sadly, once I started feeling better, Kevyn had a day where she wasn't doing well. She ended up missing the trip to the lighthouse, but got some much needed rest and eventually got over it faster than I did. Each of the girls, also had some physical difficulties as well, at various points, but we never let it get us down. It was still a beautiful and relaxing place.
Rolling away heart of stone
Due to scheduling, we typically end our spring break vacations on Easter Sunday. The last morning, is a routine of packing, cleaning, a brief egg hunt for the girls, and goodbyes before spending three hours traveling back home to unpack, do laundry, and prepare for the return back to work and school the next day.
If I'm being honest, I've always had difficulties with this schedule. Easter is my second favorite holiday, after Christmas. It's a day I hold very deeply. It's the day our savior, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead, defeating sin and death in order to bring us, who call upon God, back into fellowship with Him. It's the defining pillar of Christianity, and I've struggled over the years with how I couldn't spend it in more reverence.
I've longed for the day we could forego the rituals of combing through a house to make sure nothing is left behind, cramming our car with luggage, an egg hunt devoid if its meaningful origins, being stuck in a car for hours, and the chores of returning back home, only to be left with a few hours to reflect on God's sacrifice before going to bed exhausted.
However, this year, I believe I had a breakthrough that kept my frustration at bay.
"One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living."
I realized that although I may not be able to control the schedules of 10+ family members to line up how I would prefer things to be, I can still control my attitude and heart. Just because we have to travel on Easter, doesn't mean I can't make it meaningful. Just because practical and mundane tasks may dominate the day, doesn't mean I can't have a heart of joy and gratitude. To spend the day in judgment, resentment, or anger for what it's not, would be to ignore the very reason for what it is: ultimate love, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness.
No matter how I may spend Easter, I can still observe it in a way that is honoring to my convictions and to the Lord.