Lesson #2 from the Mara
The day after our safari was over, I sat and jotted down a few lessons one could potentially learn from taking a safari. Last time, I started out with Lesson #1 – Trust your guide. Tonight, I am reflecting on another lesson I learned:
After a hard journey, rest. You are resting in preparation to continue the hard journey.
I shared a bit about our journey to safari – the massive mud hole we got stuck in. But there’s more to our journey than that. It was a seven-hour ride in a vehicle meant for driving across open fields, not meant for the roads of civilization. So to say this was an uncomfortable ride would be putting it nicely.
Micah and I shared the back seat, which of course is the least comfortable. And remember, that just the night before we left for safari, I had received a bear hug that popped one of my ribs out of joint. I didn’t really realize just how bad it was until after we got to the Mara. At that point, I bowed out of our first game drive in preference for a massage at the neighboring camp.
All that to say – our journey to the Mara was not an easy journey. But hard journeys have become familiar. The journey our family has experienced over the last four years has been hard. Receiving a terminal diagnosis is hard. Watching your life mate wither in front of your eyes is hard. Ushering your spouse into his eternal home is hard.
The beauty of the Maasai Mara was a perfect end to such a hard journey. Resting under the trees. Eating gourmet meals outside. Listening to the hippos in the river. Watching the gentle giraffes munching on the trees. Seeing the elephants care for each other. Becoming part of the landscape of Africa, if even just for a few days. Resting. Rejuvenating.
And in our own personal journey – after Tim died, we have taken the last three years to rest. To heal. It has been incredibly important that we just “be” for a time. The boys have stepped out of most of the competitive sports. We have had very little on our schedules over the last couple years. I have dropped some of my time commitments at church. It has been a season of rest.
Our time on the Mara was short – just two days, two nights. But after running as hard as we had in Nairobi, and after the grueling road trip to get there, those two days and nights were restful and exactly what we needed. You see, our mission in Africa was not yet finished. We got back into Nairobi late on Friday night and we still had Saturday and Sunday to go – and Micah and I stayed for another two days after that. So our safari rest really allowed us to restore our energy to go back and continue our hard journey, continue ministering in a foreign environment, continue seeing sights and smelling smells that would stretch us to our limit.
After three years of resting, I am feeling ready to tackle life again. Each year, I find myself saying that, but each year it’s really true. I guess I am just now starting to realize just how hard that journey was (and still is). I am now working full time, still volunteering in kids’ ministry at church, and now the spark of missions has been lit again. Without having taken some time to rest, I don’t know that I could be where I am.
So, if you are on a hard journey in life – don’t forget to rest now and again. But keep in mind that the rest you take has a purpose. You are resting in preparation of continuing the hard journey. And another thing I am realizing – all of life is a hard journey. It’s just different chapters all along the way.