History tells us that life itself is a journey, and that it’s the journey that is vital to our transformation. Abraham was on a journey. Moses? 40 years in the wilderness following the flame and the cloud and being transformed in the process. David? On the run. Jesus? 40 days in the wilderness. Paul? On the road when he encounters the Christ.
In every instance, the literal journey is the backdrop for the soul journey each of us must take for our transformation. All of us are invited, even called, to move: from greed to generosity, lust to love, bitterness to forgiveness, despair to hope… and more. What steps are we taking towards wholeness? What steps do we resist? How do we know when to move and when to stay? How does money, sexuality, our relationship to our bodies, our vocations, our goals, enhance or impede our journey.
If the journey’s successful, we look more and more like Jesus. If we get stuck wandering aimlessly, we look more and more like boredom, cynicism, and disengagement from the challenges of our time.
Because of all this, the theme of journeys, both literal and metaphorically, will frame these pages in hope that, every day, in big ways and small, each of us will hear the beckoning voice of Christ and take the next step….
There’s a hearing. It comes to us in dreams, or songs, or after a conversation in the corner booth of a Tuesday night with the one we love, or maybe at a graveside or in a hospital, or in the wake of infidelity. However it comes to us, we hear the voice calling, beckoning: “Serve. Give. Reconcile. Heal. Embrace the challenge. Risk. Deny yourself. Rejoice. Celebrate. Mourn. Go. ”
There’s a wrestling with what we’ve heard. Was it the wine, or divinity? The weakness that I’m easily dissatisfied, or the strength that I’m willing to risk it all, to shoot the moon, in pursuit of a better story? Discerning between the Siren calls of temptation and the tug of the divine; having the courage to say yes, or no.
There’s a response. Sometimes the response includes the creating of lists, naming the possible rewards and losses should we undertake the journey. We pray. We consult. We listen to our dreams, more intently than ever. Then we go. Or stay. Whichever way we decide, it will make all the difference.
There’s a preparation. If we’re going, there’ll be things to do, so that already, before we step outside the house, our priorities have changed. We’re reading up instead of watching TV, saving and buying what we’ll need. Getting in shape so that we can handle it. Learning skills, and finding our lives pruned, and richer for the less that it’s become.
There’s a leaving. At some point, after we’re prepped and packed, there’s nothing left to do except walk out the front door, and whether it’s for a weekend getaway, or for last time, or for God only knows how long in between, this moment, this nano second of turning away from the familiar, is vital necessity, for though we’re told we can have it all, I know now that this is rubbish; know now that I can’t live in the new and hold on to yesterday.
Click. The door is closed. The Journey begins.
Our journeys define our lives because the best lives have movement of some sort – physical or spiritual, geographical or emotional, as we walk through valleys of doubt and grief, ascend peaks of prosperity and health, know the warmth of intimacy, the fog of isolation. Through all of it, learning to navigate, take a step, move or stay put, and knowing when to do the one or the other, all this will change us forever. In these coming days, I’ll be writing here mostly about the journey that is, or can be, each of our lives, told through lens of lessons learned as my wife and I prepare for, embark upon, and experience, our journey of a lifetime: 40 days of hiking in the Alps.
The themes of call, guidance, discernment, decision-making, preparation, focus, endurance, storms, carrying weight simplicity, encounter, beauty, fear, hope, rest, will fill the pages, just as they fill our lives. And each post about journey as a means of growth will be stored here.
A favorite author of mine says:
“Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it.” –
That’s what I plan to do in these next months. Thanks for joining me!