Just Beyond the Desert

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Staring out across the barren landscape stretching beyond the dashboard, I could almost see them—covered wagons carrying settlers in search of California gold. How had they ever made it? I wondered as our car groaned up yet another mountain pass. Brave souls with nothing but hope and trust that the stories they had heard of paradise were true. It had been hours since we’d passed anything that resembled water, and the rocky, parched terrain looked devoid of life. Had I been one of those early settlers, I'm certain I would have thrown myself on the desert floor, wailing to turn back.

My husband and our two young children were in the seventh hour of what we thought would be a five-hour journey from Tucson to San Diego. Caught up in Spring Break fever, we had planned to see both Arizona and California in a week. Why not drive and save on airfare? Blithely declining our friends’ offers of an ice chest with food, we left without as much as a bottle of water. Several hours later, we were hungry and running low on gas, shocked at the stretches of highway without any sign of civilization.

As we neared San Diego, I marveled at the desolate surroundings so near to the beautiful coastline. The map claimed we were close to California, and I chose to believe it. Unprepared for the arduous drive, I was bored and restless, longing for a clean bathroom and a hot meal. Yet turning back wasn’t a temptation because I trusted the map.

I glanced in the rearview mirror at my children reading in the waning light. They trusted that their father and I knew where we were going. Oh, they had complained all right and frequently called out “Are we there yet?” But they never questioned our promises of the rewards at the end of the trip.

We told them it would be worth it, and they believed us.

Later that week, I stood by the ocean reveling in the salty air and the sun shimmering off the water. The long drive west was a distant memory. The frustrations had indeed been worth it.

How many times have I been tempted to give up when I was impatient with the journey or weary of the challenge stretching before me? How many coastlines had I missed by my wailing on the desert floor? Next time, perhaps I’ll take a lesson from my children and show more trust during the journey. I’ll certainly accept an ice chest full of food from anyone who offers.