“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
~ Ursula K. LeGuin
I was having one of those moments when I was only partially paying attention to the radio. My mind was wandering back to last night’s meeting. Did I talk too much? Did I listen well enough? Did I step on anybody’s thoughts or feelings? Just as quickly my mind jumped to what I needed to do this morning. Was I ready for my 10am meeting? “Remember to print off that list of names.”, I repeated a couple of times trying to sear the command into my still foggy brain.
That’s when I heard only the briefest statement made by the gentle voice of someone sounding young and yet sad.” This new system would allow people to know where they started and where they would end up but you would miss the journey.” My attention shifted into full gear. Of course, I had already missed the initial part of the report but it seemed to have something to do with a new GPS system that will be, or already is, available.
I tried to imagine what kind of system could give you that starting point and the ending point but wouldn’t allow you to see the path in between. Of course, I realized I was only working with my own experience of and understanding of GPS systems I have used. I was clearly missing some information and a lack of imagination.
Then I began to think of this statement and its possible broader,more metaphorical, meaning. How many times have I only been able to see my beginning point and had my eyes so set on where I was headed that I completely missed the journey? Some whole days have been spent this way. I know where I started. I know where I ended up. What happened in between is a blur. Ever happen to you?
Perhaps this all hit me the way it did because I seem to be surrounded these days by situations and people who are about to be on the journey……..not where they began, not yet where they are headed. Of course, I am having my own experience of being present to them. I am seeing a foot about to step out, a life about to change. I cannot speak to their experience. I can only pray traveling mercies upon them. One is making a transition from the working world to a new life of retirement or at least the ‘what next’. The journey begun at one point is now at a destination. Two young ones I know are at yet another beginning place but unsure what destination to program into their system. The GPS they might hope for might include a tool of discernment for the journey. One dear one is making an even bigger step toward a life that has reached its destination on this Earth. My prayer is that the memories of the journey are rich and deep and full and carry him with angel’s wings into eternity.
Are you at a beginning? Have you reached your destination? What GPS system guided your way? The reality, of course, is that each day is another beginning, complete with a destination. The real work is to be present to the journey, isn’t it? To not miss one blessed moment of any blessed day.
That’s my hope any way. To have more and more days in which I remember not only where I started and where I ended up, but all the bumps and curves, all the twists and turns, all the miracles and amazements along the journey. To make note of every precious face I have encountered and thank God for their beauty. To arrive exhausted and exhilarated with the journey itself.
And, if the blessing continues, to begin all over again with the rising of the next day.