Ten years ago, this month our family took a trip to Washington state.  I had a childhood friend who lived there, and we planned to spend some time with her.

It rained for most of the trip, as apparently it does often in Washington.  On one of our last days there, the sun showed its face, and everyone we talked to—and I do mean everyone (the hotel people, my friend, people at the gas station)—told us, we simply could not leave Washington until we had gone to Northwest Trek, a magical place where we would experience an array of wildlife from the Northwestern part of our country.  So off we went because this was the day that was going to redeem our vacation.  I will summarize the events that unfolded with two statements: It started to rain, again, and there were no animals to be found. None.

Six years ago this month, our family took a trip to San Diego. It was one that we had saved for and researched fun things to do.  One of our planned family adventures was going to be a kayaking trip to view sea caves.  According to the website and their (heavily edited) promotional video, this was going to be a calm and lovely family experience. They were wrong. Again, I will summarize with a few brief statements on the events that unfolded. My youngest daughter, who was seven at the time, was tossed out of the kayak twice by the waves in the ocean, lost her oar, and had to be rescued by a lifeguard both times. Knowing that I tend toward seasickness, I did not eat anything that morning.  This, however, did not prevent me from passing out. My oldest daughter, thankfully, paid attention to the International Sign of distress for kayaks during the instructional minute we received. One shows distress by sticking your oar straight in the air. By doing this, we were rescued, but not before her hand got crushed by the rescue kayak.

Hopefully, by now you have laughed at our adventures, and you have probably thought of a few of your own times when carefully laid plans went awry.  But is that not the journey of life?  It is not the absence of animals at the park or the kayaking trip that becomes a legend?  It is how we respond to the events that make the memories we hold so dear.

I would like to challenge you, for all the plans that tend not to work out as you thought they should have, please respond with a merry heart.

·  A merry heart can give you a cheerful countenance. (Proverbs 15:13) 

·  A merry heart is like a continual feast. (Proverbs 15:15)

·  A merry heart is as good as medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

Plans will get messed up, events will have snags, and vacations will have the occasional rescue by a lifeguard. In the end, responding with a merry heart will help make the memories your family will cherish and laugh about for a lifetime. 

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Miriam Chung, Christian School Teacher

Mrs. Chung grew up around the work of the ministry and now has the privilege of teaching at the North Valley Baptist Schools. She and her husband faithfully teach young people and are a vital asset to the ministry of NVBC.