Do you ever catch yourself looking forward just like those professionals tell you to? We’ve been trained to look far, far ahead into the future journey to plan, prepare, and eventually reach our goals. (As if we really know our goals, anyway. Many will change over time.)
My job has me traveling in and around Gulu, Uganda everyday. The surrounding districts I work in can almost be an hour away, so I find myself in new territories navigating around potholes which in Uganda are pretty much giant, gaping malicious black holes. I have to keep my eyes open for bikers, pedestrians, and large trucks whaling around corners and curves covered in grass taller than my Toyota Rav4. While driving, I find myself looking forward every single day. (Gold star on my car insurance, right?) I stare blankly at the undefined road ahead of me, preparing for anything to maybe, potentially come my way. I look forward preparing for those problems and any potholes that will surprise my path. I stare ahead only focused on the destination and moving forward to reach it. Do you ever get tired of looking forward?
Today, I let my friend Peter drive since I had never visited the Lakwana district. As he drove, my team and I were allowed to enjoy the ride, but I still found myself staring ahead at the blank, orange, winding road. Why was I still looking ahead?
I turned my gaze out my side-view window and instantly fell in love with the new scenery. My view was covered in green trees, cascading landscapes, untame grass, rolling hills, and beauty untold. I love my job, and I love where I am. So why have I always focused forward on the blank, winding, undefined road when the side-view has always been so much better?
I get so caught up in the stresses of life that I am always planning and working for the complete product. I am never satisfied with the small chunk I’ve accomplished because it has yet to add up to anything. It is hard for me to celebrate one day of home evaluations or primary school scouting because the program still isn’t built, or anywhere near completion. It is hard for me to enjoy the scenery of today when I am bracing myself for imaginary potholes and curve balls that may never appear. Lately, I have been making efforts to savor each day for its own scenery and small accomplishments.
We must look forward to our destination, I still agree, but we can’t forget to gaze into the side-view of where we are right now to memorize and absorb beauty. Furthermore, we must feel content that it may not be the destination but it is nonetheless a treasured moment of the journey.
It can be difficult to gaze into the side-view because in the very moment you are taking it all in, you are passing it. You may merely have a second at each spot, but the beauty can last forever.
Enjoy the side-view, too.
Until next time, Cara
Follow Cara's adventures in Uganda on her personal blog. Donate to her organization, Childero, here. Keep up with her on Instagram here (where she posts the best videos and photos of her sweet kiddos).