The Modern Journey
by Erin Dijkema
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Everyone has heard the metaphor "life is like a journey" and many will not refute it. It makes sense, we began at one point, form some goals along the way to become our destination and inevitably have some obstacles. But in this modern world, as opposed to the ancient world the saying was produced, when they walked everywhere, literally running into danger and brutal hardships as well as coming across more meaningful relationships along the way, the meaning of this saying may have gotten stuck in retrospect. In today's world, travel is much simpler, cars carry us to our destination in the comfort of shelter, comfortable air temperature and entertainment , and airplanes and trains have shrunk the world with much of the same and more accommodations. So does the interpretation of the metaphor change as well? It should. But it hasn't really been adapted yet to the modern world yet. See, we can't relate to the ancient way of travel where people would walk, cross the seas, subject themselves to remaining on the horse or camel or stick close to the covered wagon for weeks or longer in the midst of life threatening obstacles to reach their destination. The chosen destination really was a thought out goal, so-picked to fulfill a religious ritual or to better the lives of a community or a family. It was crucial, worth devoting so much to arriving to such a destination. What's more, the traveler was very dedicated to that destination and believed in its purpose, because how else would he persist through the threats of thieves, murderers, bears, thirst, hunger, fatigue and sickness? Jesus and the disciples withstood persecution, exile, hunger, thirst, storms and pain to spread the gospel and it is all the stronger in the hearts of us today because of this observed strength and commitment in these journeys the Holy Spirit is able to give to us. We also don't understand the rapidness of the growth of relationship from acquaintances to trusted friend due to the conversations had on the road and the bonding survival teamwork needed to fight, eat, drink and live together while briefly walking along the same path. Journeys were barely taken on alone, two or more spending days together, welcoming any trustworthy looking group to join them. As one can see, traveling is immensely different from today where we travel to relax, take a Sunday afternoon drive or to attend a half day business meeting across the world. The traveling route is not taken into as much consideration these days into where one is going, its respectively trouble-free.
So is this beloved saying obsolete, is it so irrelevant that we should finally let it go out of respect? No, not necessarily, it has its meanings for this century as well. Take highways for an example, a popular route on many people's daily lives. There's at least one particular aspect hidden in those complex webs of pavement that can be directly applied to life. Ever notice when two lanes are merging or even when the trip has turned into a series of stop and go intervals, and your lane is the one that is going at a snail's pace while the one beside you is speeding by so fast it's almost overwhelming? That no matter how hard you want to get to your destination, you can't merge into the faster lane without risking some degree of your safety? It seems all you can do is to wait impatiently for your lane to go faster again before feeling like you are getting anywhere again, it's a painful process.
But there's a trick, a very handy trick for getting into the right lane and for life as well, try to picture the indications for both in the following. It came to me while in the exact situation that although to stop completely when you are already going so slow and at such a disadvantage at reaching your goal as fast as everyone else seems foolish, it may be beneficial in the end. If you keep your car stationary long enough while studying the resulting increasing gap in front of you and the speed of and gaps in the traffic beside you, you can manage to give yourself enough space to speed up fast enough at just the right moment to ease yourself safely into the faster lane, once again, at least for a while, gaining ground to reach your goal. This would have been impossible without angering a few people, waiting patiently and refusing to use any acceleration or power in the moment seemingly overwhelmed with helplessness. In life, when one comes to a intruding and seemingly slow part of their lives, most people have the tendency to want to push their limits to what the world will let them to reach their short term or longer term goals faster, they are impatient. But what many other people have discovered is the precious tools they have in that time. Rather than using their energy to simply trudge their feet in par with the invisible bar that seems to be holding them back even if they were to use their extreme maximum efforts; they use the time to pause, pray, observe their surroundings, gain more knowledge, restore the joy in the things they used to adore and firmly plant their priorities even stronger; waiting patiently for the clear moment when they can efficiently use their power to get right back on track with a renewed sense of self. Another challenge is in not comparing oneself to those speeding by on the success highway, reminding one of the things not yet done, discouraging one to think of alternatives to making the best of the situation. This will seem absurd to the success driven or career driven society, drawing some ridicule and directed shame, but sticking even closer in the midst of all the 'road rage' to your morals, priorities and joys, and the knowledge that pushing is not what will always fulfill God's plan but waiting patiently for Him to concoct the planned situations will, is likely to weaken its effect. Eventually life will get right back on the fast track once again, allowing you to take full part in God's plan and His world, but if stuck in a slow moving pace at this moment, be patient, God has big plans and He needs you to be rested, relaxed, full of knowledge and wisdom, and ready for the sudden pedal to the metal accelerated push back into life.
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