The year was 2013. I was freshly divorced. I was without income. My finances were dwindling. I had a conference I had to go to in upstate New York. I was still an ordained minister and it was my denomination's annual conference. I had driven my car to New York. In the course of the entire conference I felt numb. On my second day there, I got a call from the dad of one of my former congregants that I was fond of. He called to tell me she was laying in a hospital after a serious accident on her motorcycle. I was hundred's of miles away and not able to be there for her and her family in the hospital.
Everything felt like it was falling apart. In many ways it was.
When the conference ended I got in my car and was ready to drive back to the Chicago area. Then I remembered on my way to the conference I had seen signs for Niagara Falls. I had never been to the falls. I went to a gas station and bought a map (old school) and plotted my course. It would take me about an hour and a half to get there and about the same amount of time out of my way. I did not care. I had never seen the falls and today I was less than two hours away, so I was going to see this natural wonder.
I got there. I parked. I walked. I stood in awe. I found various vantage points to take several pictures of the falls and then I just stopped from a good vantage point and just watched. I do not know how long I stood there, but I stood there. I breathed. I felt the tension release from my shoulders and my soul. The anxiety found a calm in fury of nature.
For the first time in over a year I did something for me. I took control and found peace in that moment. It was on a whim that I gave myself permission to go out of my way in spite of demands and just be. I would return home and go back to losing myself and things would get worse for a time. Later in life, things would get better. Why? Because I started to fight for me.
The road to a better self starts with doing something for one self. Self care is important. Before it becomes a habit, we may have to find it in moments.
Take a moment for you. Take a moment in wonder.