One thing I love about being a youth minister is how the lessons we offer our youth are applicable to our own lives. Recently our team had the opportunity to travel to Biloxi, Mississippi. Biloxi is about 12 hours from Cincinnati. Add in bathroom breaks, meals, and gas and 12 hours quickly becomes 15.
After this experience, I was talking with some friends and family who asked about the long drive. How hard was that? How long did it take? What did you do to pass the time? But as I reflected on the drive, I realized that it wasn’t difficult at all. Never during that drive did I feel restless or anxious. So, how was it that I could get through such a long trip and not go stir crazy?
Tomorrow I am preparing to discuss a movie and lead an activity with a group of seventh graders. The theme is being present to God and trusting that God is always with you on your journey through life. My favorite quote from this movie is, “The trash is everything that is keeping you from the only thing that matters: right here, right now.” Did I want to be in a car for 15 hours in one day? No. But that’s where I was. I got in that van knowing full well that I would not be home until very late. So, I got comfortable in my spot and settled in for the drive. I didn’t wish I was anywhere else. I accepted where I was.
A lot of things happened during that car ride. We drove through major cities, reminisced about previous travels in the same area, and listened to music. There was also a lot of silence, which in a car full of introverts is not a bad thing. But, I think the best part of that car ride was when we stopped for dinner on the way home.
We couldn’t pull up to the drive thru speaker since we were in a very large van and the clearance was only nine feet, so our boss got out and stood in front of the drive thru speaker to place our order. (The dining area was closed for the evening.) We then drove the van around the speakers and got back in the drive thru line to wait for the cars in front of us. As we were waiting in line, our boss, a drummer at heart, started playing the drums on the driver’s side door. Since I am learning the drums, I had drumsticks with me. I handed them to my boss through the window and he proceeded to play, using every inch of the exterior of the van as his drum set. It was a moment when there wasn’t anywhere else we could be, there wasn’t anything else we could do, and so we all just laughed and had some fun. Since the van couldn’t pull directly up to the window, our boss walked up to the window to get our food. The look on the worker’s face was priceless. Our dinner finally in hand, we took off for home. A couple hours later the trip was over.
It is not always easy to be in the moment. As we teach our youth to be present to the everyday moments of life where God is speaking constantly, we are reminding ourselves to do the same. And in that one moment, two hours from home, at 10:00 at night, in line at a drive thru, the five of us could not stop laughing. That is a moment I will treasure for years to come.