308 miles, 27 hours, and $125.64

Wareham to Rochester (with a stop in Portsmouth) to New Durham, New Durham to Wareham: 308 miles altogether. My older son and I made the first part of the journey on Friday, and the return trip on Saturday. Measured by clock and receipts, these 308 miles took twenty-seven hours (five behind the wheel) and $30 for gas and tolls to make it up and back. $1.15 went to a parking meter, $12.47 to a market, $42 to a restaurant, and $40.02 off a specialty store gift card – expenses along the way. This trip adds up to 27 hours, $125.64, and 308 miles.

But if you asked me about it, I wouldn’t tell you any of these things. Instead, I’d say:

What fun it was to walk with my son through my old neighborhood in Portsmouth, and to eat scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and peas at the Friendly Toast. How interesting to listen to Colin’s stories about walking around Philadelphia.

The fog coming off the snow was so dense that my mother’s road couldn’t be seen through it. 

Seeing my mother in person is so much more fun than talking with her on the phone. 

Laughter comes easily to all of us at our yearly family get-together. There is a precious ease and familiarity to it – a gift that not all families receive.

I missed seeing my Aunt. I hope I get to spend time with her the next time I’m in New Hampshire. I hope my brother, mother, husband, and younger son make the next family event, too. They were missed.

The gifts and the food were fun, but without the people they wouldn’t be worth much.

It’s been a blessing and a privilege to spend my life’s time with these particular people. I wouldn’t trade my relatives for anything or anyone else.

There’s a richness that can’t be found in receipts and odometer readings. The length of time spent isn’t the measure of its worth. Beyond today, I won’t remember the 308 miles, the 27 hours, or the $125.64 I spent. But I will hold in my heart and memory the immeasurable goodness they brought.

 

Published by

Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

2 thoughts on “308 miles, 27 hours, and $125.64”

  1. Wonderful thoughts–thanks for sharing them. I remember nice trips to visit relatives down south with my wife and children before everyone was fixated on some mobile device when we actually talked and sang with each other. Ah…the good old days.

    1. Thanks, Bill. The trips home were like that when I was a child – going from whatever Navy base we lived near to New Hampshire. My parents drove through the night if the trip was a long one, stopping at a motel during the day to rest while we played. peace, Johnna

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *