Monday, May 29, 2017

Indiana Dunes, Exploring our world, and taking almost no photos

We went on a quick vacation for Memorial Day.

Our quick vacations usually go like this: leave Friday after Ben gets home from work and then travel about 2-3 hours to our destination. We'll stay at a hotel where we swim in the pool, watch cartoons (one of the kids' favorite parts!), and eat free breakfast. Saturday morning we explore the park until lunchtime, then grab lunch on our way out of town. I love it because it doesn't take up the whole weekend and we still have a "Saturday" to catch up on everything and get ready for the week.

I was thinking about how much variety these short vacations have added to our lives. Because they are so short and don't cost much, we are able to go on a vacation every single time we have a day off! And it's enabled us to visit a lot of different places that are not far from us. We've really been getting to know our state which has been so fun.

This time we went to Indiana Dunes State Park. This park actually doesn't have one of our beloved inns, but it does have a beach (Lake Michigan). Our kids had never been to the beach before and they were just in heaven! It was too cold to swim (60's) so I didn't imagine they would be so enamored with the beach but they just couldn't get enough. They were ecstatic putting their toes in the sand, giggling as the cold waves crashed over their feet and were content to simply sit and dig on the beach.

There were fewer people there because of the weather and it was so peaceful watching the waves tumble onto the shore over and over again. I felt like it was a good thing that we had brought our little family here and that they were experiencing this. Our earth is so beautiful in its diversity, even contained within one state: thick green forests, rocky hills, technicolor valleys in the fall, and sandy dunes. While we can't show our kids all of the different terrains of our earth or every unique landscape, I think it is good and worthwhile that we take them to see and experience those places that are within our reach. It does take some planning and forethought on the part of the parents, and it sacrifices some personal endeavors or relaxation a parent might otherwise do on a long weekend (I wouldn't call traveling with young children necessarily "relaxing"!), but I think it is a worthwhile sacrifice.

I was kicking myself when we got there because I had forgotten my camera and my tiny phone pictures were a poor substitute for capturing my true feelings and experiences like I'm accustomed to. But as I sat on the beach with the wind and the waves, my kids playing beside me and a smile on my face, I was reminded that the true joy comes in experiencing things, not capturing them. I once viewed a beautiful video of somebody's life that brought me to tears. I thought to myself, "How meaningful is a video like that! I need a video of my life that truly captures the joy like that!" And a gentle voice came to my mind, "It may not be captured in that way but you. are. experiencing. it, and that is the greater joy."

I hope sharing small slices of my life does not cause others to feel envy for things that they don't have, but instead reminds them that they are experiencing joy everyday, captured or not.

1 comment: