Enjoy the journey…

June 28, 2021

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ursula K. Le Guin from her 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness.

I saved that quote some time ago with the intention of exploring it is a post. Most of us probably have a number of ends that we are journeying towards. Those are our life goals or our dreams and hopes for the future. What ends are you striving towards?

It is important to understand the message in Le Guin’s quote – that the journey itself is what matters – the successes and disappointments along the way; the process of problem solving and overcoming obstacles we go through as we make progress; and the people that we encounter along the way.

The journey itself becomes the end – the thing that we enjoy and the thing that keeps us going. How many times have you reached a goal or achieved a dream only to find that finally getting there was much less satisfying than you imagined, perhaps being disappointed that the journey towards that end was over?

Life itself is a journey that we all are on. For many there is a not to satisfying end to that journey – they see only death. For a Christian, the end of the journey of life is just the beginning of another for which there is no end. So, if one believes that there is eternal life after death, it behooves us to enjoy the current journey we are on towards that end in this life.

Enjoying the journey means taking time to savor the moments of small victories and being open and welcoming of the people that we meet along the way. It means finding joy in the problem solving that we must do on the journey. It means overcoming the negatives and celebrating the positives. Each step in our life journey and each new friendship that we make on our journey should be relished because we shall not come this way again.

One way to enjoy the journey of life is to set broad-stroke and open-ended goals for the time that you have here, such as:

I want to be the best person that I can be

I want to help as many other people as I can

I want to live a life of loving, caring and sharing

I want to live a life that reflects the teachings of Jesus

Goals like those essentially define a journey that has no end, so the journey itself become the end. Each of those goals give us something to strive for and we can look back at the end of each day and assess how we did that day, what progress we made towards meeting those goals, and what we must do different tomorrow to continue our journey towards those goals. If you need an accountability partner for this journey, I know of none better than checking in with God in prayer each night. If you ask God in your prayers the questions, “How did I do today and what can I do better tomorrow?” the answers will come to you. Listen for that soft voice of God in the back of your mind.

Set your goals and step off on your journey. There’s no end in sight. Just check in with God to see how you are doing and to get help with what is next.

Enjoy the journey.

Find New Roads – use GPS

May 6, 2015

Yesterday I wrote a post based upon a play on the Chevrolet ad tag line “more than you expect for less than you imagine”. It turns out that Chevrolet’s newest primary tag line “Find New Roads” is also a good line to play off of for life advice. I haven’t a clue what it’s supposed to mean in the commercials, but here’s what I think it an mean for life.

Life tends to lead us down many dead-in roads or detour us off into the boonies some times. I shouldn’t say that life does that to us; because, we do it to ourselves.  We explore different paths in life, some good and some that leave us in a ditch somewhere, wondering how we got there. Sometimes we just wander along, unsure of our destination or how to get there. Many times we may find ourselves lost in unfamiliar surroundings.

car-gpsIn my car I have a wonderful Global Positioning System (GPS) with a nice big display to show me where I am and to provide instructions as I go about when and where to turn. I don’t always follow the instructions, especially if I think I know a better way to get somewhere. Sometime the GPS seems to get really annoyed with me when I don’t follow its instructions. My wife gets a kick out of me talking back to the GPS voice telling “her” that I’m not going to make the turn that she just suggested. My GPS spends lots of time recalculating the route.

Many people use AAA Travel Services when planning a trip on new roads. I always get a TripTik® whenever we’re traveling; not just for the map, but for the handy information guides that they give you too. It helps to see what interesting things there might be to do as we travel along.

Life is like a road trip. When we’re young, with a keen sense of adventure and a feeling of invulnerability, we take many of in the ditchlife’s dares to wander down dark roads. Some never make it back, ending up lying in the ditch at the end of those bad roads. Most turn back in time to try other roads in life. As we get older, and hopefully wiser, we tend to take safer roads; but we may still be heading in the wrong direction. The voices telling us to turn back from bad roads tend to be friends and family, but we don’t always take that advice.

Since life is usually a long trip, it’s good to make use of trip planning help; to have a TripTik for life. Fortunately we all have GPS available – God’s Planning Service. We do need to ask for His help; but, when we do ask, we find new roads for the trip. We can more clearly see the roads to avoid and our route is constantly recalculated to keep us headed in the right direction. Our eyes are opened to all of the opportunities that surround us as we journey. And, if you’re the type who prefers to use a map as your guide, there was one created centuries ago that still clearly marks the right pathes – the Bible.

prayingSo, as you start out each day, pause to get a GPS update. You may wish to use this little prayer – “God, I’m not sure where you’re taking me today; but I know that if I stick to your plan I’ll never get lost; so let’s go.” Maybe He will lead you to a stop along the way where you can be of service to someone else or maybe one of your fellow travelers will render a service for you. Take it all in and enjoy the trip; confident that you will not get lost as long as you are using your GPS.

Have a safe and wonderful journey through life and don’t ignore God’s directions – He knows where you’re going and He won’t let you get lost.

Be a good traveler, enjoy the journey…

February 9, 2015

“It’s good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”  (Ursala Le Guin), as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

At the micro-level of a week, we often start out each week with some goals, some end that we will be journeying towards that week, or at least with a calendar of known and planned events that we intend to participate in that week.  At the end of the week, we might be able to look back with some satisfaction at having accomplished those goals or we might look back and be thankful that we survived the twists and turns that life moral compassthrew at us during that short time period. In either event what we are then looking back upon is the journey that took place during the week.

We might look back on things and, with the luxury of time to more clearly see the decision points on the journey, engage in “Monday morning quarterbacking.” We should have run the ball and not attempted the pass that was intercepted has been a favorite lament lately. That is engaging in the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” syndrome, which is largely a waste of time.

Rather, it is better to look back, if you must, and try to learn from what just transpired. What choices did you have and why did you make the ones that you ended up making? Did those choices end up playing out the way that you envisioned? Would you have made a different choice had you the time to think about it more or maybe thinking hardhave had more information upon which to base a decision? Reflecting on things is one of the more basic ways of learning and increasing your ability to deal with things in the future. It also increases your ability to lay out more clear and realistic goals for the rest of the journey ahead.

Another important point to be more aware of is that all of our journeys have the same endpoint. They all start the same way and end the same way. Some take longer than others to reach the end point, but none  (with one exception) have ever found a way beyond that endpoint.  Having said that, perhaps the goal businessman looking at watchshould be to enjoy the journey as much as possible. Enjoying the journey requires that we take the time to “stop and smell the roses” – to enjoy the people that we meet and the places that we go and the experiences that we have as we go.

Enjoying the journey means waking up each morning and being thankful for the opportunity for another day’s travel. Enjoying the journey means taking the time to stop and really listen to those that we meet, getting to know them, and sharing some stories of each other’s journeys.  Enjoying the journey means looking up from your labors to see the things around you and to appreciate the wonders that are there. Enjoying the journey means reflecting upon the experiences that we have each day, rather than rushing onto the next experience.

So, if you were thankful for the chance for another day’s journey at the start of the day; perhaps you should pause at the end of the day to savior the memories of that day. If man relaxingyou started the day thanking God for giving you another chance to travel on; perhaps you should double back and thank Him for making it memorable. You might also reflect on what you did during the day to make that day better and more memorable for those that you met along the way. Remember that, no matter what you do, the end will be the same. The differences will be found in what you do along the journey.

Did you stop and hold a door open for the next person, or just rush through the door to see what was on the other side? Did you reach into your pocket for some change to give helping handto the poor man sitting on the sidewalk or just shove your hands in your pockets and hurry by him to get to your next appointment? Did you use some of your time to help build or repair a house for another in need or were you too intent on buying more stuff for your own house? At the end of the day, is this how you would want to end your journey?

It’s Monday and you have a whole week’s worth of life’s journey ahead of you. Set some goals for yourself that don’t involve just getting ahead and making more money. Set some goals that have to do with enjoying the journey more and making a positive difference in the lives of those that you meet along the way. Then when Saturday comes along you’ll be able to look back and fondly remember the people, the places and the events of this week’s journey. Have a great week ahead!