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Wanting a fun Spring Break vacation, I decided to surprise my family this year. I planned a trip…and didn’t tell anyone else where we were going- not even my husband! When we got to the airport, they searched the departure screen to figure out our first destination. They knew we were leaving at 7:30, so the possibilities were Denver, San Francisco and Fargo, North Dakota. (They were really hoping it wasn’t Fargo – although I’m sure it’s great if that’s home to you!!) We boarded the plane to…San Francisco. Day one had begun.

Each day I give them a clue sheet with pictures of what we will be doing that day. For two days in SF, we went to Alcatraz to get locked in a solitary confinement cell, to a San Francisco sourdough demonstration bakery, to Chinatown to see ancient Chinese ladies making fortune cookies, visited a couple of aquariums and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. Then we headed south to Monterey, touching sea urchins and starfish in tide pools, and taking a spin at the old-time amusement park in Santa Cruz. The next day brought a hike through the Balcony caves at Pinnacles National Park and a breathtaking drive and elephant seal watching along the edge of the world at Big Sur and the Pacific Coast Highway. Whew! Today takes us further south to Santa Monica Pier, and in American Idol fashion – we’re going to Hollywood (or at least going to see the Hollywood sign from the Griffith Observatory high in the Hollywood hills).

So all of this got me thinking. My family has been following me blindly along this coastal adventure. They don’t know where we are going, but they are excited for the ride! That’s some pretty amazing trust. Who do we trust and why? Who do we follow?

I had two interesting examples yesterday. While hiking, we warned our little kids not to run on the very rocky trail. Not five minutes into the hike, Liza hit a rock on the run and went down…two bloody knees and one bloody hand to show for it. So, in good parenting fashion, the first words out my mouth were “I told you not to run!”. Sure I’d told her not to run, but sometimes we insist on learning the hard way! Those sore knees were a very good teacher.

A little later on the hike we climbed into a pitch black cave deep in the mountain. I was going last to help the kids and Luke was struggling to get down. I had the flashlight on my phone, but Luke kept saying he couldn’t see. He had a baseball hat on, so I took it off hoping that would help. As soon as the hat was off I saw the real problem – he was still wearing his sunglasses!! With the sunglasses off he scrambled down the rocks and caught up with the rest of the family, and it made me reflect on a different type of following. Some people can help us because they see from a different perspective. Luke was looking THROUGH the problem and couldn’t see, while I was looking AT the problem. He learned from my perspective.

Are you resistant to follow? Do you always have to learn the hard way? I’ve always had coaches in my life. Sometimes I listen and sometimes I don’t. Why don’t I follow them like my family did me this week? Perhaps there are some things I have to learn the hard way…but I think it may be better explained as a bad case of pride. I can’t see the sunglasses through the darkness, but I don’t always believe those telling me to take the glasses off! The old saying is true- when the student is ready the teacher appears. So I challenge you to find someone to follow, someone that has a different perspective on your life. I’m going to recommit myself to trust those I follow. There are people wanting to help, we just have to be willing to slow down long enough to listen. Enjoy your family and love your life! It’s a beautiful world!

Dr. Michelle Jorgensen

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