About two months ago I was in my best friend’s wedding. Because of the timing, we had planned for me to fly up a day ahead of my husband so that I could help out in any way possible and spend some time with the bride-to-be before everything became too hectic. The plan was for me to fly out of my hometown around 7 AM and, with a couple of connecting flights, to arrive at her house soon after lunch.
That was the plan, anyway.
That was before the propeller broke on the plane for my first flight, and before they rerouted us to our first connecting city via charter bus. That was before I missed (what should have been) my second flight of the day because buses travel more slowly than planes, and before (what should have been) my third flight was delayed because of weather. That was the plan before my five-hour trip was restructured into an eighteen-hour odyssey.
It was a ridiculously long journey, and through all of the time I spent sitting in airport snack bars and huddling in dark corners charging my phone and trying to get comfortable for a little nap, I think I somehow became so focused on the journey – on all of the misadventures – that I actually forgot what was going on.
At one point, on a bumpy shuttle bus ride across a dark and rain-slick Tarmac, I realized that there was actually a reason I was doing all of that. Like, not just a spiritual one – as in, God is doing something here so there’s a reason for everything – but there was a purpose to the whole trip. I was actually on my way somewhere. I had a destination and a reason for going. I was traveling for my friend’s wedding. I had bought my ticket and anticipated the trip for months in order to be there for her, but during the course of the travel mishaps it was as though I thought it was all about the journey. I had somehow lost focus on the amazing celebration waiting for me on the other end and was just engrossed in the process of traveling.
And I realized, as I bounced along and tried my best to keep my unwieldy suitcase from toppling over and taking out one of my fellow passengers, that really, that whole day had been reflective of the Christian journey.
Think about it. When you got up this morning, what were your first thoughts? If you are like me, you thought first of the most efficient way to get everything done today. A green post-it note of “to do’s” was waiting for me, and as is so often the case, my day has become a tedious litany of checking one thing off so I can move on to the next thing. Packing lunches and washing dishes and folding laundry and writing articles and publishing blog posts and sweeping the floor and feeding the cat and researching for my business…….on and on it goes, one thing after another, until all I can see is one life-long to-do list.
But friends, when was the last time that you saw your day to day life as one leg of a truly epic journey? When was the last time that you took a step back and saw your time on this earth as a passageway to somewhere else? When was the last time that you allowed yourself to become totally distracted from the things of today as you dreamily anticipate what is still to come?
It’s just part of being human, really. We get so wrapped up in the day-to-day tedium that we forget the eternal to come. We have our eyes fixed on what’s right in front of us, focusing on just making it through the day – getting through the inevitable obstacles one way or another – and we forget the reason behind it all. We forget that this is a journey, yes, and we have to pay attention to what’s around us, but guess what? We’re actually GOING somewhere.
We like to talk about how life isn’t about the destination – it’s about the journey. We say that so much, though, that I think sometimes we forget that there IS a destination, and that the destination – the glorious, heavenly, light-filled destination God has prepared for us – is the reason for this difficult, bumpy, exhausting, frustrating journey. And I think that if we remember that the destination is the reason for this journey, we’ll be better equipped to travel the detoured roads of life. Because these roads, potholed and rough as they are? They’re going somewhere, and so are we.
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