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Today I Traveled

Today I traveled. 

I flew to Michigan and back in a day. 

Yes, from Florida to Michigan in a day! I’ve seen a growing trend of trips like this, called “out and back” trips. The more common destinations I’ve seen are New York City, DisneyWorld, and Washington D.C. 

When I lived in Illinois, I planned an out-and-back trip to DisneyWorld but never went. Most of the time we would just travel to closer destinations on day trips. We would drive or take the train to Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and the miscellaneous towns that lined the Mississippi River. There’s a lot of charm in these small Midwestern towns.

Now that we live in Florida, our day trip destinations are Orlando, Savannah, Amelia Island, St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, and the miscellaneous islands that make up the Atlantic coast of southern Georgia. We still drive or take the train or sometimes a ferry. 

I’m not sure what the difference is between a “day trip” and an “out and back” trip other than the name. All I know is that this trip to Michigan was special. 

I met up with some friends from college for a mini-reunion to honor the life and loss of a dear friend’s baby. He was born with an extremely rare condition that shortened his life to only 4 days. Although I was unable to make it to the funeral, a few friends and I decided to offer support today instead, a few months after his last breaths.

The flights were absolutely perfectly timed. I flew directly into Detroit, just 25 minutes from my ultimate destination in the morning. Then after chatting with my friends, having lunch together, and visiting the gravesite, I flew nonstop back home just in time for bed. 

For me, it’s easy to think that to visit someone, offer support, and just be there for a friend in need has to take a lot of time. This trip reminded me that it doesn’t. Just being there, for however long, is enough. We need each other, whether for a few hours, a day, a week, or more. The point is to be there. 

In theology, this is called incarnational ministry–that Jesus came to us. God made himself available by entering into our world. As pastors, incarnational ministry is one of the most important ways to care for the congregation. It means we go to the hospital to visit someone sick, for example; we enter into the world of a person in need. We don’t wait for people to come to a church building or to call us for help; we seek it out and move ourselves into their location. 

I invite you today to consider whose world you can enter into? Maybe it’s an “out and back” trip to visit a grieving friend. Or just a 30 minute phone call. Maybe it’s a 3-day girls’ weekend! Don’t overthink it. Just be there.

Today I traveled. I went from Florida to Michigan and back in a day. And I understood that just being there is enough.

Thanks for making this a part of your day!
Feel free to share it with others!

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