Think of your life as a journey

700e6d9169e5ff416de09a054b2531c6Think of your life as a journey.

What do you take with you as you travel?

In earlier years, I think I carried way too much luggage with me when I traveled.  Now, I want to travel lighter.  In earlier years, I carried all the worries, all the troubles, all the made-up anxieties I could with me.  I didn’t set those things down.  I carried them with me, whether they belonged to me, or not.

As the years have passed, I have set many of those heavy things down as I have journeyed.  I set them down, and as I looked at them one last time, I saw that some of those things did not belong to me at all – never had!  Still, they had been a weight in my luggage, and so I noticed when I set them down.

Some of the things I carried belonged to my mother, and my father.  Some of the things I carried with me belonged to the older ancestors, to some whose faces I had never seen, whose names I do not even know.  I carried them with me, and I set them down.  Some of the things I carried with me belonged to others, not to me at all.  Somehow, I had snagged these things on my coat or in my hand, and so, I threw them into my luggage, along with all the rest.

As I get older, I not only want to carry less.  As I get older, I do not have the strength, I think, to carry as much.  And I don’t want to carry all that luggage, either.  I try to pack light now.

When I think of my life as a journey, I see a trajectory.  I look back, and I see the trajectory that was there, all the time, although I was not able to see it at the time.  I see that I could not take one step that truly led me away from my path, although sometimes I wondered.  I can see myself, in my younger years, wondering, wondering.  Am I on the right path?  Is this the way?  Is this the way, to what?  I see myself, younger, stopping often, wondering, confused, a question mark floating in the air above my head.  Wondering.

Some of the things I carried with me belonged not only to the ancestors, but to the others whose journeys intersected with mine.  Sometimes I was was confused, and I thought the things that belonged to them belonged to me:  their shame, their anger, their own confusion, their own maps for their own paths.  I set those things down as I came to travel lighter.

The things I carry now are so much lighter, and I choose more carefully, about what I will put into my luggage.  I don’t need all those things.  I need less, much less than I thought I needed when I was young.  I don’t want all those things.  All those things, I see, do not make me shine any more brightly; in fact, all those things cover, like a shadow, me – the real me, the one who has been on this journey, all along.

Sometimes I’ve been lonely on the journey.  Now, I see that the loneliness was good.  Sometimes I’ve been tired, for a long, long time.  I suppose that carrying all that heavy stuff made me tired.  Sometimes I have allowed my confusion to convince me that I must have made a wrong turn.  No, no, I am still on the journey, another part of me offered.

Now, I find, the journey has led me to this place.  The place is me.  That’s all.  Simply me.  Not much here but me!  And me – I have been me, truly, all along.  I see that I had to set those things down along the way, because they did not serve me, did not serve me at all.  Still, I had to make this journey.

The journey of return – to me.

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” –  Genesis 1:31a, NIV

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