I don’t know about the rest of you, but this weekend was one for the books for the Rutledge fam! And to think, we almost said no to it all.
As most of you know or could likely presume, extended vacations for our family of 7 are not in our coupon-clipping, discount-rack-shopping budget! This is a fact that has oftentimes depressed and frustrated me. Rather than let our restrictions keep us down, we have committed to make the best of the moments we do have this summer. Even so, when my momma suggested we drive the hour and a half to her place then the additional 3 hours to the beach for the day, I was apprehensive. My old self started calculating gas cost and trying to decide if it was worth it for just a few hours of sand & sun. When I thought of how much we all love the ocean and the possibility that we’d go another summer without seeing it, I stopped calculating and started packing for our day trip. With early mornings and long drives, the sour faces had me thinking we’d made the wrong decision. But once we got there & buried our toes in the hot sand & felt the spray of saltwater on our tired faces, something miraculous happened….we ALL enjoyed the day. No one complained about the PB sandwiches we ate out of the back of the car instead of heading to a restaurant for lunch. Not a huff was heard about having to wash their hair in cold, outdoor showers or changing in cramped, sandy dressing rooms before hitting the road again. We even managed to leave without both of the boy’s shoes & no one had a meltdown….self included! Everyone was simply thankful for the 5 hours of family fun.
Yesterday we had a cookout with friends that we had planned a couple weeks ago. As you might imagine we were all a bit worn from our quick trip not to mention the fact that 2 of our 7 had turned a lovely shade of red thanks to fair skin & poor application of sunscreen. On the short drive over, the grumbles and snarling faces had me on edge about how the afternoon was going to pan out. I was working on my excuse to leave early because obviously time with friends wasn’t a good call. But once we got there and the slip-n-slide came out, all the attitudes disappeared and we stayed well into the evening.
I’m sharing our weekend with you for one reason. So many times we neglect the fellowship portion of our faith. We are all so busy with our own lives that we feel there is no room for activities with “outsiders.” When our schedules become overbooked, the first thing to go are the extras we’ve planned with friends. This is unfortunate as time spent with family & friends is refreshing and brings encouragement to our weary souls. We are designed to need one another yet we are quick to rely on our independence when life gets crazy. Maybe what we all need is to swap out time spent worrying over how to solve our problems for a little more time around a campfire with good friends, gooey marshmallows & stories that make you laugh until you cry. Or maybe you need an impromptu drive to your favorite spot to remind you what life is truly about.
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”