Last time we saw that I have this tendency to succumb to tourist panic, that condition that causes us (or at least me) to freak out on a trip, concerned I won’t see it all. I know it is stupid to feel this way, so why do I still do it?
When you plan your own days, you rarely plan on the small discoveries like this street in Cusco, Peru that blends Incan stonework (on the bottom right) with later Spanish buildings on top and on the left.
Peace of mind.
Or rather, the absence of it.
Many of us go on trips to relax. We hang around the pool or on the beach with a cold drink. Our only concerns relate to SPF and how to avoid poking our eye out with that little umbrella in the drink.
At least that’s the way we think it will be.
But no matter how relaxed we may be on the outside, without peace of mind, we just lie there, listening to the waves…and worrying about all those issues we thought we had left at home.
In my case in Cusco, Peru what got in the way of peace of mind was the fear of regret. I was concerned that if I didn’t see everything I could, I’d get home and regret what I missed.
But here’s the reality. I will always miss something. We all will. We can never see everything in a place no matter how long we’re there. So the very notion of trying to see it all is somewhat pointless.
What I ended up missing most that day wasn’t some museum or hidden find. It was piece of mind. And deep down, when I unpack all this, why did I lack piece of mind?
And you certainly don't plan on encountering the sheer joy of children getting out of school on this other Cusco street
Because I was, at that moment, traveling on my own. Sure, my family was with me, but I wasn’t putting their interests first. More importantly I wasn’t trusting that God could be part of that day on that trip. I’d prayed ahead of time for health, safety and to be open to what God would reveal. But on that day, I didn’t really trust that he was as interested in me having a good day as I was.
Why not? Is God a cosmic killjoy bent only on disciplining us when we fall short? Or do I believe – really believe – that he cares not just about my struggles but also about my joys? Clearly that day, I did not, or at least not enough to let it sink in to where I could rest in him and trust that he would work things out.
Virtually every time I find I’m missing peace of mind – on a trip or at home – it almost always relates back to this issue of trusting that God cares for me and for others, even more than we do ourselves. I struggle almost every day to live out what I believe in my head and my heart.
But he knows this as well.
Which is why on trips like this one to Cusco, despite my best plans and worst obsessions and worries, God comes along and on a day packed with all the things I thought we should see, he reveals what we needed to see. For that afternoon, just as we began wondering what else to do, that’s when we unexpectedly discovered the luthier’s workshop and studio I wrote about earlier. It wasn’t on our itinerary. It wasn’t in our plans. But it was in God’s.
Peace of mind. It seems so elusive. But it – or rather He – is always closer than we think even when we’re thousands of miles away from home.