Vision: A Preferred Future


I love vacations. The very word conjures up images of blissful relaxation, a temporary ‘vacating’ of life’s usual responsibilities and a focus on rest and rejuvenation. I feel myself relaxing, just contemplating the wonderful vacations we have taken, both as a couple and as a family.

A couple of years ago Jim and I went on vacation to Tuscany with my siblings and parents, where we shared a villa that overlooked an olive grove and a valley full of vineyards and little villages. We soaked up the early spring sunshine, cooked simple but beautiful meals with fresh ingredients from the local market, explored the history and culture of Florence, and above all immersed ourselves in a substantial sense of peace and unity.

We took great breaths of fresh air, we played rousing card games, and walked and walked, exploring museums, gardens and beautiful buildings. We savoured every bite of the mouth-watering food, we sipped the local Chianti Classico, we sampled the language and tried it on for size. I brought a little bit of Italy home with me, along with a renewed focus in the realities of my life.

When I say Vacation, I think of all of these marvellous things. But wait – what about the other, very real, side of the vacation coin? Like the son who crashed his bike only days before we left, breaking an adult tooth to the root and needing immediate attention? Or the extreme separation anxiety of a 7 year old daughter who started waking up at 2am, fearing that she had cancer, or the flu, or symptoms of a heart attack? What about the randomly cancelled flight that left us stranded in the Frankfurt airport, missing trains and eating into the precious time away? Or how about running through an airport and tweaking a knee which is then swollen for a week, or falling down the narrow stairs of a crowded double-decked train, hobbled for days afterward? All of those were also realities of that vacation.

Someone described Vision to me as “a Preferred Future.”

When I think of ‘vacation’, my ‘preferred future’ is very firmly on the terrace of a villa, relaxed and smiling, painting a therapeutic watercolour and nibbling on some excellent cheese.

However, the reality of that future is that it isn’t always a bountiful platter of charcuterie. Sometimes it looks like all of those other things; unpleasant as they are.
Does this make us let go of our preferred future? Do we cancel the trip because of some challenges along the way? I sure hope not. Without persevering through those difficult moments, we would never find ourselves on that terrace, feeling renewed and ready to leap back into the daily grind with all of our love and attention. If we aren’t willing and able to politely navigate a gigantic, crowded and confusing airport to find someone who speaks English, we may just call the whole thing off.  We have to keep our Vision before us, and not give up.

The fact is: my life in this current school year does not match my vision for this year; my preferred future was something very different. This has been an exceedingly difficult year on many fronts. Things are not going the way I planned. In fact, today I feel like I’m really, really far from where I meant to be right about now. Will I give up? 

No. I will cling to my Vision for the year. I will see if there are some things I need to change so we can get back on track. I will persevere, trusting that I will find my way there through the challenges and trials.