Column: Who is with you on your journey

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 24, 2011

As our summer vacation trips begin with happy expectations of the best vacation ever, you load the ěstuffî and you load the family to set off on this exciting trip, only to be maybe half an hour into the four-hour trip, when it startsÖ. ěAre we there yet? How much further? I have to go to the bathroom! Iím hungry! What are we going to do when we get there? Do you know where you are going? Will you stop and ask for directions? Heís touching me!î Some typical parental responses, ěDonít make me stop this car! Johnny stop touching your sister! Iím sorry you are boredÖ.letís all play I Spy!î Remember the movie, ěNational Lampoonís Vacation?î You remember, the family jumped in the station wagon and headed across country to Wally World. They got lost, ran off the road and were robbed, then once they got to Wally World, it was CLOSED! Sometimes our best laid plans just donít work out at all. Sometimes we begin journeys with the best of intentions, with thoughtful planning, and still end up at journeyís end in a place we would rather not be.
Have you ever started on a journey hoping to find out who you are, why you are here, what purpose you have in life and what difference you make in the world just by being who you are? Is it possible to identify that destination?
Ask yourself, am I a journey person or a destination person? Am I the type of person who enjoys the journey, traveling in no particular hurry, stopping to see the out of the way places like the famous big ball of yarn, or do I focus on the schedule, keeping everyone organized, and racing to get to the destination? My kids would tell you, ěDad is all about getting there!î
Destination or journey? How many times have you gone on a trip where everything went according to plan? Have you taken a trip or vacation and because things didnít go according to plan, it was the best trip you had ever taken?
Both the journey and destination are important. The real question and focus should be, who do you have with you? Who is sharing that life experience with you? It is the relationship, the experiences, and the adventures along the journey that we remember. It is about experiencing and discovering each other. It is about having fun, resting, growing, bonding and experiencing each other. Leonard Sweet says, ěThe very best investment you will make will not be a financial one, but rather the investment you make in relationships.î The time we have with our family and friends is crucial to our happiness, success, state of mind and spirit.
Jesus went on many journeys with the apostles and God. He chose 12 disciples who would be challenged emotionally, spiritually and physically. He took time to rest, pray and recharge. Jesus was a witness to the disciples and the disciples were witnesses for him. All along his journeys, he was building relationships. Jesus invested in relationships and so should each of us.
Getting away is important. Scripture is peppered with examples of Jesus getting away to be alone, sometimes with the twelve (and you thought it was tough just taking your two kids to Disney or the beach). I think itís cool to see Jesus in these settings.Knowing that even Jesus, in his perfection, needed time to seek peace helps me feel less guilty that I cannot be everything to everybody all at one time. ě And He said, ëMy presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.íî (Exodus 33:14).
As you make your journey, who will be a witness to your life?
In Luke chapter 9:10, the disciples have just finished a mission. ěWhen the disciples returned, they explained to Him what they had done. He took them and withdrew into a private town called Bethsaida, ëthe fishing place.íî
Jesus knew how to stay connected. He knew they needed time away. There is time for work, ministry, self-evaluation, renewing the spirit and body. Vacation by definition, is a time when you take a break from the ordinary, enjoy your time with family, friends and embrace the journeys in life. Remember, the relationships and experiences we share together give meaning to our lives.
James Cook is chaplain at Rowan Regional Medical Center.