In worship recently, we read words that immediately set my mind off to a rumination field day, making such an impact on me that I scarcely attended to the rest of the service. (Not that this is unusual; I’m distractible that way – but this was the Call to Worship. I usually don’t zone out until a little further into the liturgy.) The words were “…and our lives become a test of faith, not knowing the end, but trusting the journey.”
Looking forward, literally, but certainly not figuratively, to a week of soccer tryouts where kids, including my own, have to endure the agony of not knowing if they’ve been picked, or worse, not being picked up for a team, I was a bundle of nerves. Decisions had to be made for both of my kids. Should they stay put? Should they tryout elsewhere? What it one of them or a good friend was to be cut? Inevitably some kids would be crushed. Knowing that I was obsessing way more than was healthy, I was looking for a way to put myself in a “these things have a way of working out” frame of mind. But it wasn’t coming naturally. Or at least not until I read, and simultaneously heard, the truth of these words.
You see, journeying is something I can be passionate about without obsessing. One of my favorite things in the world is travel. In fact, I, like my parents before me, have what the Germans call fernweh, a deep longing to experience the far away or the unexplored. When on a trip, particularly a vacation, I am able to trust the journey. I’m constantly in a “let’s see what today brings us” frame of mind, suffering from few preconceived ideas on the particulars of that day. I remember traveling with my dad once in Germany when he ordered an unsatisfactory potato dish. He was pleased as punch. “OK. Now I know what not to order…” The journey was trusted and what would have been a disappointment in another’s eyes was simply a moment of enlightenment for him. Like my father, I tend not to get wigged out when things don’t go right on vacation (unless it’s the kids squabbling). Why can’t I apply this to my life?
In my defense, vacation or travel days do tend to bring somewhat more interesting occurrences than other days. A grizzly bear or five in Yellowstone, an armadillo in the woods on Cumberland Island, a new wild flower, a scarce bird, my niece flying into my arms with “Hey Aunt Lolly” in her thick southern accent…. At home my surprises tend to be along the lines of the roof leaking, a son failing a pop quiz, or on the up side, a lazy cuddle with the dog.
Why am I only able to trust when I’m living out of a suitcase? Am I putting too much hope in the journey and not enough trust? Am I so busy hoping that grades are good, appliances work, and health improves, that each deviation from the plan seems like a huge boulder in the road? Or am I hoping too specifically? How am I to trust the journey and enjoy the ride when the road feels like it’s become Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride gone off-track?
Though it caused me to miss a lot of the sermon, I did come up with a solution: Practice makes perfect, or at least better. Not only will I endeavor to treat each coming day as a journey, but, from now on trips and vacations will be my practice field for life.
Though funding may prove to be a hurdle, I came up with a new resolution: Journey more.
© Laura Hedgecock 2009