Life is a Journey Not a Destination

Throughout our lifetimes we all take journeys to various destinations. Some journeys we look forward to however, others we may not enjoy. For example, we may look forward to that family vacation trip planned for months to visit Disney World, but hate those crowded checkout lanes at the local grocery store when you have 12 items and the express lane says 8 items or less. These are but two examples of life journeys we all must or will probably take. No matter what journey your life might lead you through, each one will have an ending destination. You may like what lies at your destination, while others may not. You might be excited about riding in the front car of the super roller coaster at Disney, but dread deciding what four grocery items you can do without so you can use the express lane.

Life is what you make of it, getting to that journey’s destination. Many will require you to wait in a line at one time or another. Waiting is not always a bad thing or a waste of time. I remember several years ago waiting in a checkout line at our local Costco store. In front of me was a mother and her two young daughters. Like many youngsters, the girls seemed bored while having to wait in line while the people in front of them were being checked out and they were “acting out.” I noticed that one of the daughters was holding a CD from the popular boy singing group “The Hansons.” Holding out my Costco membership card which has my name (Hanson) and picture on it, I asked the one, “I see you like my boys’ songs.” The young girls looked at my card, saw the name “Hanson” and quickly told their mother of their discovery of this “important” person. With my quick understanding wink to the mother and her return smile, I knew the mother realized it was all in fun. But the girls settled down and seemed impressed in having had met the “Hansons’ dad.” I still wonder if the mother ever told the girls the truth!  

Jumping forward many years later, I now find myself deeply involved in an on-going 25 year-long journey with Wreaths Across America helping to spread its mission to Remember the Fallen, Honor those who Serve and Teach our children the Value of Freedom. In my journey, I have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of like-minded people helping to spread the mission, many times while standing and waiting in lines behind a truck loaded with Veterans’ wreaths transported down to Arlington National Cemetery from Maine.  

While Arlington was the destination for the wreaths, it was the experience of the journey down as part of the convoy and the opportunity to talk to individuals along the way or those waiting in line with me behind the trucks that will stay with me for life. Over the many years of my journey with Wreaths Across America, the people I have met and had the opportunity to listen to them share their stories of loved ones lost has made those “waiting in line” times most memorable. I have found that the thousands of volunteers who come each December to help place wreaths on the markers there make Arlington National Cemetery their destination, but they are more than willing to share their life’s journey as to why they are there, if one just takes the time to wait in line and listen.

It’s Not What We Do, It’s Why We Do It.