Two weeks ago my spring break plans resembled the first draft of Mickey Mouse, who Mr. Walt Disney himself named Willie not Mickey. In the past my spring plans included things like SXSW in Austin, Chicago with friends, or an eight day road trip from Oklahoma to North Carolina, to Florida and back with three people I still call friends. Atlanta got a little tense, but we made it. Last year my mom took my sister and I on our first New York City expedition. We crisscrossed Manhattan like Amazing Race contestants refusing to hear Phil Keoghan utter the words, “I’m sorry, you’ve both been eliminated from the race.”
But this year, spring break crept up on me. Maybe in my subconscious I wondered if I peaked. Could I top the previous year’s adventures? Or maybe I felt like now that I turned thirty spring break should mean staying home and organizing the Tupperware draw. Though I value conquering the Tupperware drawer and glean extensive amounts of pride in how I can always fit each annoying but necessary plastic contraption with the perfection of a winning game of Tetris, I needed to aspire to more of an adventure.
As I ticked through my ever running list of places I long to stand in and absorb I kept returning to The Big Apple. New York City captured me last year with the vibrant and eclectic people and experiences it houses. Plus I kept dreaming about that gnocchi from Greenwich Village. So, on a whim and with a quick internet search I discovered flights obtainable. An offhanded text to entice my mom about recreating a caper and going back to NYC set a plan in motion.
Last year we spent hours, days, weeks, months pouring over information about where to stay, what to see, what to eat. We mapped out each day and held what I imagine a long conference call feels like in a board meeting. Each of us hashed out what we wanted to see and do. We plotted our routes as if enlisted to execute a highly classified mission should we choose to accept it.
This year, my mom, dad and I booked a flight and maybe a hotel? I am not really sure. I should check.
My mom and I obtained some context of the city from last year, but we are both still clearly tourists. Though last year someone on the streets of New York City asked me for directions and I knew the answer, an enormous feat for me because I “took the long way” to the mall today in the city where I live. We finalized our flights and neglected to even think about the weather. Last year at this time when we landed in what Alicia Keys and Jay-Z refer to as the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of” the skies painted a crystal blue backdrop for the sparkling buildings, the temperature crisp enough for a light jacket.
At last look when we land on Monday, it will start snowing. The two full days we grace the city that never sleeps with our presence, those days forecast about 14 inches of snow total depending on the model you look at.
I spent my Saturday in and out of store after store in search of a coat I hope and pray will keep me warm enough. My family originally hails from Texas. My dad from Chicago, but he acclimated rather quickly to enjoying what Texas weather offers. Any snow constitutes grounds for considering cancelling school and not leaving the house. I scrambled to check my wardrobe for warm clothes so I don’t die. I may end up looking absolutely ridiculous, but trust me I will not freeze. I hope.
I say all of this because we all need to remember these three important things about adventures:
Remember, never stop adventuring. No matter your season, circumstance, or financial situation make space for adventures. Use wisdom for adventures, but do not let money or social norms stop you from doing at least something. Your adventure may mean a well planned trip or an on a whim flight. You could drive a few hours to explore a new city or even go into a new shop in your own town. No matter what, do not stop going and pushing for adventure. As we make space for adventure we make space to grow. Travel and exploration broaden us. Go forth.
Remember, adventures can glisten with newness or be coated in familiarity. The most important part of adventure, what you do with it. As we go back to the Empire City it reminds me of a new friendship. I think I know where we stand, I think I really love NYC. But the accumulating snow and blizzard like conditions will test the depth of what I believe we hold for each other. I could refuse to name this an adventure because I checked New York City of a list as completed. Or I could continue to see what wonder emerges from revisiting the bustling city. When we let familiarity define an adventure as completed, we rob ourselves of the awe held in exploring. Each day holds so much beauty and wonder. Fight to see those twinkling moments. Let Christ woo you with them as He presses your heart.
Remember, adventure looks different than you plan 98% of the time. If we practiced a bit of tact we possibly could have avoided the weather debacle. But we didn’t. And now the adventure looks different. It will not entail strolls through streets and sunny skies in light jackets. Instead we will trudge through snow and – well I do not actually know what a foot of snow in that amount of time and a city continuing on will look like. My anticipation flies the roof the closer I get to finding out though. Life parallels the uncertainty of adventure. We make plans and God sometimes changes them. He changes them because His plans hold a bigger place in His broader picture. The smallest of capers to gigantic adventures serve as microcosmic reminders of how God is in control despite our best efforts. And His plan always turns out more beautiful.
So, whether you board a plane, get in a car, or organize a drawer (it can be an adventure in itself just keep carving out time for varied adventures), may your adventure draw you to God and push you to grow. Grow your depth of love and trust in a God. Grow your ability to take a step of faith. And grow your awe in who God is and the intricate ways He works. Spring break or no spring break, do something a little bold and daring this week.