Meri Lee and I recently enjoyed a trip to the Philadelphia area with our husbands. Meri’s husband Carl rented a Jeep for us because he knew it is what Meri Lee would love. Meri is a free spirited artist at her core. She can throw on a ball cap and run with the boys just as easily as she can manage fabulous shoes and that “little black dress.” She has taught me a lot about the importance of celebrating and letting your hair down every now and again. She loves a good time, and that is one of my favorite things about her.
I, on the other hand, have tended to be a bit more “reserved.” That is code for – I was too scared and self-conscious to relax and just enjoy myself. One of the many benefits of being Meri Lee’s friend is that I have learned to relax a little more and just enjoy being. She tends to have that effect on people.
When I heard that we were spending our little vacation traveling in a Jeep, I was delighted! Secretly, I love Jeeps and have always wanted one. It doesn’t really fit my look or personality, but it’s what I’ve wanted. I can remember when my husband Mark asked me what kind of car I would like to have and I said, “a Jeep” – everybody had a puzzled look of disbelief. You would have thought I had asked for a clown car and a rubber nose.
Since I don’t have my own Jeep yet, I was thrilled to hear that we would be “borrowing” one for a few days. Carl picked us up at the airport and our adventure began. We covered miles and miles of beautiful wooded hills and vales along the back roads of Pennsylvania – all with the top down. We went to New Hope, Lambertville, Washington’s Crossing, and Princeton, to name a few spots. It was breathtaking, and I felt like I could see and feel it up close without the limitations of a solid roof. It is amazing the difference it makes when you “get out of the box.” We literally were experiencing nature, the sun, trees, and breeze – outside of the box. But I was also outside of my norm and that was good for me too.
Getting out of the ruts we tend to live in and doing something different, something that exposes us to nature, light, beauty, and life – this is vital to a healthy happy heart. We tend to hide in our boxes – our cubicle at work, our apartment, our car, our same old places, while there is a world of wonder and beauty waiting to be explored. We must break free. We must escape into the wild places where your hair flies in the wind and your feet feel the dirt. It is so deeply important to our survival, and here is why…
As I write, the news is littered with sadness, selfishness, and heartache. We have just lost a young and vibrant artist who was haunted and, seemingly, could not be saved. We have seen the massacre of many many innocent people by a single man. And we have a government whose behavior as a whole would, I fear, shame the hearts of our forefathers. Having just been where Washington crossed the Delaware with such courage, purpose, and self-sacrifice, reminded me of how stuck we really are.
I don’t have all the answers to our political dilemma or the troubles of the world, but I do know this. If we don’t take care of our hearts, if we don’t feed them beauty, trueness, love, and life-giving things, if we don’t keep them soft and pliable, then we will lose it all.
All you can do is tend your own heart, but if you do this, everyone around you will feel it and benefit from your good choices. So find something that is life-giving and full of beauty for you. Put the top down on the Jeep and take a ride in the countryside. Get out of the box and breathe free – it will restore your soul. Why should you do this? Because we need you, and all the wonder of your beautiful heart.
A “Good” Idea:
Be deliberate about doing something that breaks your routine this week. Climb out of the “box” you typically find yourself in and let your soul be restored. Come back and tell us about it!