Entry 112: Backyard

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I am guilty of being unimaginative.

It didn’t feel good to say that, but I know it to be true. It’s normal for me to find myself in a routine and checking daily boxes. This is an easy trap to fall into because I constantly fade into this idea everything that is somewhere else. Adventure is a continent away, the weather isn’t right, and time isn’t on my side. What is interesting is that as I fade into this mentality, something usually ends up jabbing me in the stomach and waking me out of the stupor.

Most recently, this quick jab came from a weekend getaway in central Ohio. Now, Ohio is not known for drawing people in with its mountains or parks. For most people, Ohio seems to be a place where you have a distant relative or pass through on your way somewhere else. While I constantly find this to be false, it’s not hard to understand where this comes from. In an attempt to get out of this mindset, I went with a group of friends to Hocking Hills for a weekend trip.

Hocking Hills is known for its cliffs and waterfalls, surrounded by abundant wilderness. This is no scenery that you simply drive by on your way to somewhere else. Does it compare to the Grand Canyon? No. Was this a great adventure with perfect weather and adequate time to totally recharge? No. This was a quick getaway to a corner of Ohio, but it was still lovely and it entirely simple. Over the course of two days we breathed in fresh air while exploring a new place and at other times, while doing absolutely nothing at all. It wasn’t big but it was good.

I find that it is simple things like this that truly add to the spice of life. Sometimes the adventure is even shorter or smaller than a weekend away. Nevertheless, the act of doing something is what counts and gets us into a new space where we can experience life. But experiences aren’t everything. As important as I find them to be, experiences aren’t the end all to living a full life. They are, however, one of many things we often excuse as too difficult to achieve on a regular basis.

I catch myself thinking in the same way about helping others. Mission trips are far away and expensive and the starving live somewhere else. All the big things feel too daunting or too difficult and then the same mentality slowly sets in until something jabs me in the stomach and shows me that there is plenty to do in my backyard.

I cannot claim to know what seems out of reach in your life, but I would beg you to reconsider what you think of as too far away. We get caught up in considering great things and fail to consider the never-ending list of simple things that, together, can make a world of difference in how we experience life.  Getting away for the day isn’t a week long vacation, but you can still recharge. Volunteering locally is nothing like starting a foundation, but you can still bless and be blessed. If you take a little time each week, you will be amazed by what you find in your own backyard.