Kurt Vonnegut once wrote "Strange travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God". When I read that I was impressed. It seemed to indicate that accepting and working with the obstacles that get thrown in our way can lead us to somewhere entirely different and better than we might have gone before. Well, that's what I got from that quote anyway, and I try to live that way.
This weekend it paid off....again. I was headed upriver with my kids and two of their friends. It was hot and we were going to go swimming. First thing that happened was I locked my keys in my office. My car keys are on that same ring, so I was kind of in a bad place. I had 4 hot sticky kids in the car who wanted to go camping and swimming and I wasn't able to drive or get to my keys. So we headed for a pay phone. As I picked up the phone, a friend of mine who I love dearly but never seem to find the time to hang with pulled up. With his help I got a set of extra keys to the office, went up the river, the kids swam and had a blast, and I invited my friend to come with me, so we got to have a long overdue chat.
The swimming went so well that we decided that camping out that night would be fun. So I raced home, assigned all of the kids certain chores to help pack up the camping gear, and we were on the road to the campground in under 30 minutes. As I got ready to set up the tent....I remembered....last fall I aired the tent out, and didn't ever put the actual tent back into the tent box. I was set up in the campground with no tent. Now that's no big deal for me, because I love to sleep outside, but for my kids and their friends, the concept was a little frightening. So rather than push it, I suggested we go with it. We went ahead and built our fire, set up our camp..sans tent, and had dinner and s'mores. We sat around the fire, played the drum and sang, told stories, looked at the flames, and talked. When it came time for bed I gave the kids the choice of driving home to sleep, sleeping out under the stars, or cramming into the car to sleep. To my joy, they all decided to try sleeping out. As I lay that night, my children around me, gazing at the stars and listening to the dying fire crackle and the river murmur I thought of the Vonnegut quote and it all made sense.