I really love exploring beautiful places in nature, but every once in a while I enjoy exploring a city. Usually a day of wandering and taking everything in is enough for me, but it’s fun to get a taste of different cities in the midst of the beautiful landscapes that surround them. So, when I went to Kentucky, I decided to go visit Louisville. My four associations with it are the Kentucky derby, bourbon, friend chicken and baseball.
I ended up walking around a lot, visited both sides of the river (I snuck over to Indiana although I’m not counting it yet…) and enjoyed views of the bridges. I also went to the baseball bat museum & factory and for a bourbon tasting. I took pictures of some of the horses around town and ate some fried chicken. I figured I did my part in reinforcing the four things that were already in my mind about Louisville.
Each night I usually look up where I’m going to the next day and do some research on what I would like to do. Usually cities have a lot of different options and while looking stuff up I become overwhelmed and frantic, wondering how in the world I will cram everything in. In this moment suddenly I become interested in all the things that have never interested me. And yet their luring call tempts me because it seems like it would be good to experience it. However, maybe doing one thing I really enjoy is more worthwhile than 10 things that I don’t particularly enjoy. Or maybe picking one thing I want to learn more about is worth more than being saturated with way too much information that I won’t remember anyway.
Giving myself more space to breathe and not cramming everything in has been a crucial theme over the last couple years. My mantra has become “Just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should.” My visits to different places keep reinforcing this as I realize that it’s better to be fully present in a couple things that might connect with me more deeply than trying to accumulate experiences and information. Through grief, one of the biggest things I have learned is to give grace to myself. Grace is my word for 2017 because I still need constant reminders of this and need to keep reflecting on grace and learning to abide in the grace that God continually extends to me. My day exploring Louisville was a great day. Of course, there’s so much more I could have done and seen, but it was perfect because I was present and I enjoyed it and can see some other things the next time I go.
I’m learning to be content with what is before me rather than trying to grasp frantically for more. I can be still and present and it is good. Learning to be increasingly thankful in each moment.