I am a Sound of Music nerd. I admit I might have a problem because I love the movie so much. Ever since the age of seven when I was introduced to Maria and the Von Trapp children, I’ve dreamed of traveling to Salzburg, Austria. I’m not sure if it was the scenery, the emotions evoked by the film, or that I wanted to dance around the city singing “Do Re Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” or “I Have Confidence.”

The plans to travel to Austria began in 2018 and the trip was scheduled for 2020, but Covid derailed it. Finally, it was back on the calendar for August 2023. I read all the guides and perused all the reviews for sites and tour companies. Our agenda was set, plane tickets purchased, and hotel rooms reserved. My dream was becoming a reality.

I had a vision of how the trip would unfold. I believed all should go smoothly because I had planned, planned, planned. However, some expectations were not to be realized. First, our luggage was lost for three days. So, we purchased toiletries and washed outfits in the bathtub and waited for our luggage to catch up with us. 

Second, the rain descended on Salzburg the day before we arrived. Clouds nestled in over the mountains and blocked any view of them. It poured the day of our Sound of Music Tour, resulting in a condensed experience. Accompanied by umbrellas and rain jackets, we tried to navigate the day with the best attitude we could muster. Disappointment reared its head and I struggled with the fact that I had dreamed of this trip for over fifty years and my days in Salzburg forecasted rain and more rain.

Amid the frustration and a few tears, I realized I had no control. I can’t dictate the weather. I don’t have the power to wave my arms and make the clouds disappear so that we could see the mountains in Salzburg or nearby villages. It’s not possible to force the tour guide to do what we wanted. But what I could control was my attitude and how I handled the situation. Even though our plans went astray, we were in Austria, and that was amazing. I was walking in the middle of a blessing.

So with soaked shoes, weary hands from holding umbrellas while attempting to take pictures, and flat hair, we set off to re-enact all the movie scenes and have a grand time while we sloshed through the puddles.

In my everyday world, I would love to be able to control situations or dictate how people respond, but most of life is unknown. I’m not a puppet master who can manipulate the strings. I’m sure you’ve had a few days where you’d love to scream in frustration or be able to move your life chess pieces around on the board. Most disappointment revolves around expectations that oftentimes are unrealistic. It’s up to us to trust the one who holds our future. It’s our decision how we react. Our attitude is our choice. 

I may not have seen everything on my Austria itinerary or witnessed the magnitude of the mountains, but my favorite picture from the trip is the day it rained as we pranced around the Sound of Music fountain in our rain jackets. When life gives you rain, play in the water. 

About Shelley Pulliam

Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale.