Taking The Time To Look Around

 


It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end. - Ursula LeGuin

This past summer, I had the good fortune of spending a lot of time traveling across the U.S. and a fair amount of time wandering in the U.K. as I enjoyed the first sabbatical of my pastoral career. 

It was a fantastic experience that allowed me to enjoy the journeys without a strict schedule and with very little demand on my time. 

I learned a lot about myself during my travels, and I also have had the opportunity to reflect on them more thoughtfully in the following months.  

I returned home during the busiest season for my church and family.  It didn't take long before I was back doing all of the things that needed doing, my schedule filled up, and the demands were high. 

But still, I find myself hearkening back to the feeling I felt when enjoying the journey instead of focusing blindly on the destination.  

There are so many signs and wonders to be seen when we aren't preoccupied with where we're heading and allow ourselves to experience all that the journey brings us.  

But the problem most of us face is that we can't pause to look around and notice all of the ways God is present in the world around us.  We should be more focused on doing instead of being.  

Most of us never pause to take stock of the joys to be found when we aren't wearing our busyness like a badge of honor. 

One of the many things that I hope to do this year is to take time to enjoy the journeys I'm on and stop worrying so much about the destination.  It doesn't mean that I won't plan or set a direction; it just means that I'll be working to be more aware of my surroundings. 

It's easier said than done. 

I've discovered that you can't properly look around and enjoy the journey when you're exhausted.  You also can't do it when you're constantly feeling anxiety or fretting about your outcomes. 

To enjoy the journey requires a certain amount of self-care, which is also a herculean task at times for busy people.  

You also need help when you aren't doing the work to be in touch with the presence of the Divine in the world, which means you have to tend to your spiritual life through prayer, study, and meditation--all of which take time. 

Maybe you've been longing to find the ability to enjoy your own journey, but you've been struggling to figure out how.  Just know that you are not alone.  We're fellow travelers, you and I, and we need one another for encouragement, inspiration, and accountability. 

Let's walk together this year.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and forever. Amen. 


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