I spend a fair amount of my time sitting with people at the end of their lives, listening to stories of all the memories they cherish or when I visit with a family upon the death of a loved one, I am blessed to hear the memories they made as a family over the years. Meghan enjoyed eight years of hospice social work, having similar experiences with people. One of the blessings we have received in this sacred work of death and dying is the importance of making memories as a family. 

With Meghan starting on a new career path in 2019 to become a school social worker and a church that cares for the well-being of their pastor and family, we planned a three-week camping trip to Yosemite, Redwoods, and Crater Lake Parks. We have long had the goal of visiting all 50 states and exploring these iconic American treasures and so we set off on a 6,000-mile journey. As we buckled up in our driveway to depart, I turned to the backseat and said with a humor that only makes sense in a household that works regularly with death and dying, “make sure you get a story out of this trip to tell at my funeral!” 

It was an amazing trip! I learned the truth of the John Muir quote: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” Indeed, on all our other family vacations, I have found the time in nature with family to be healing of soul and body and my strength renewed. In our home, we have a wall dedicated to these memories centered around a map to remind us of our goal of visiting all 50 states. This summer, we’re taking two weeks to wander our way up to Acadia National Park in Maine and explore the northeast for the first time and I am excited about the new memories we will make, spiritual restoration we will be blessed to find in the gift of God’s creation on our journey, and a few more photos for our wall.

I pray that everyone can have such a gift of renewal and memory making. It certainly doesn’t have to be a summer vacation or a crazy, three-week camping road trip. Even a good book, concert, or movie can do the trick (has you seen the Top Gun: Maverick? I recently found a bit of that in that movie of all places. I didn’t expect that).

All of creation is a gift from our generous and loving God! 

See you in a few weeks!