|My husband, Chris, will be the
first to tell you that taking a trip with me is agonizing and pushes his
patience to the boiling point. I do not enjoy traveling, particularly in
a car. Chris loves to travel and he loves driving. I have yet to hear
him convey dread about his one-hour drive to the office through rush
hour traffic each morning. Chris views travel with a sense of
anticipation and finds great joy in the adventure of new sites and
scenery. He savors each moment of the journey and is never in any rush
to get to his destination.
I, on the other hand, just want to arrive and dread every minute of the journey. I vividly remember our honeymoon trip to California. As newlyweds, we were still in the discovery stage of our marriage, and my dislike for traveling in a car was yet to be revealed. Chris had planned an overnight trip to the quaint oceanfront town of Mendocino. He had mapped our course and determined that we would take the scenic route along the ocean. It was a choice he lived to regret and still remembers to this day.
The route Chris had chosen was a two-lane highway with hairpin curves that virtually hugged the edge of the mountain cliffs offering a breathtaking view of the ocean. Electing to take this route presented one problem. Once you are on this road, there are no alternative routes to your destination. Initially, it wasn't too bad. However, 30 minutes into our drive, the elevation had more than doubled. For the next three hours my eyes remained affixed to the front windshield while my white knuckles clung to the dashboard and my heart raced with a beat of impending doom. It was dread in its purest form…terror. My husband tells me it was one of the most spectacular drives he has ever taken. I couldn't tell you. I never enjoyed one minute of the trip. I just wanted to arrive at our destination. Unfortunately, I had forced Chris to drive so slow (about 15-20 mph…isn't that ridiculous) that by the time we did reach Mendocino it was dark and the shops were closed. My fear of heights and dread of the journey had not only crippled my ability to enjoy the beauty of the drive, it had also robbed me (and my husband) of the joy of exploring our destination.
Life is very much the same way. It is a journey with no one point of arrival. Just when we think we've arrived, new challenges, obstacles and goals force us to change our course and put us on the road again. My husband sees this journey of life as a joyful and fragrant experience. He lives each day of the journey with what I call 'calm satisfaction'. I tell him it's a gift that few people have. He doesn't see it that way at all. He believes that it is a choice to change how we view our circumstances coupled with a decision to appreciate the present by living one day at a time. To observe this man in action is incredible. He is truly happy and finds life enjoyable EVERY DAY!
I can certainly tell you that I have never viewed life's journey with joy, and my happiness is nearly always dependent upon my circumstances. I truly coveted the fragrant aroma of his joy but I didn't even know where to begin. What did he know that I didn't? I began to observe my husband and started to note how differently we responded to the same circumstances and challenges of life. My observation revealed five key principles by which he chooses to live.