I love to travel. I like to see new places and experience different cultures. I’ve been blessed with a job that allows me to travel. I’ve been from ‘sea to shining sea’ here in the United States. Plus our son lived in Germany for five years so we’ve had opportunities to travel to Europe a few times for pleasure, too. This year I’ve been to China and Mexico and I’m planning to travel to Spain early next spring. In two weeks I’ll be in Mexico City again and then on to Guadalajara. The following week I’ll be in New York City. All this travel feeds my soul. I encounter culture and diversity with each trip. And I gain an appreciation for the world outside of ‘my little universe’.
Some of my favorite memories are those made while traveling. Three years ago we were in London for Thanksgiving. Our whole family made the trip – our sons, our daughter, our daughter-in-law, our son-in-law and our granddaughter Charlise (Anna was “in utero”) and Noah wasn’t even a glint in his Daddy’s eye at the time. Eight people traveling together from Germany to London and back to Germany with one of them being a three year old presents some logistical challenges but we had a fantastic time. The British Museum, Parliament, The Tower of London, and Buckingham Palace were among the highlights of our trip. But for me one thing stands out and will remain as one of the most precious memories of my life.
We toured Westminster Abbey. For those of you that have been there or read about it, you know that this place is steeped in history. I could have spent days there. As it was, we spent several hours and all the while three year old Charlise was in her stroller and very content. Now as amazing as the history of the place was for the adults you can imagine that from a three year old’s perspective it might have been dull – but she was an angel the entire time. Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the River Thames are all within walking distance of one another so after we finally left the Abbey we decided to walk across the Thames. I was pushing Charlise’s stroller and I could hear her speaking very excitedly. I stopped; walked around the front of her stroller and bent down to ask her what it was that she wanted. Her response: “Look Pawpaw, water!” After spending hours in Westminster Abbey where her point of reference was everyone’s kneecaps (or rear-ends); she finally saw something that she could recognize – WATER.
WATER! How beautiful. How simple. How wonderful. Charlise and I shared that moment for what seemed like a very long time. We looked at the water together and for that special moment in time I felt like a three year old again. It was exciting and I realized then and there that ancient artifacts and significant historical places (no matter how important) could never take the place of my granddaughter’s enthusiasm for that moment. It was truly a ‘take time to smell the roses’ experience.
So while I returned home with great souvenirs and great photos and great memories of majestic places, the one thing I will always treasure most is the time when Charlise and I looked at the water in The Thames. You know, it could have been a creek at home but it doesn’t matter. Because we were ‘in the moment’ and we saw WATER together!
Try to find something that a three year old might appreciate. And then indulge yourself. You’ll be amazed at how beautiful the world is from that point of view.
“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14