I left the house a few minutes later than intended, so the drive to school to get my son is rushed. I don’t want to speed, but I want to hug the speed limit. One mile into the eighteen-mile drive, I am behind a driver without that same commitment. As the car in front of me moves slowly along, well below the limit, I allow myself to become frustrated and annoyed. After fifteen miles of following unhappily across winding country roads, I hit the open highway, make a break for the left lane, and watch this fellow traveler disappear in my rear view window.
With my son now in the car, I head back across those very same roads. The autumn leaves are a delight. I take in the views of the ponds that we pass, and enjoy looking at the barns. Thirty minutes earlier I had been pressing on stressfully to reach my destination; now along these same roads I am pondering the beauty of the journey. When I look at the dashboard, in fact I am now the one below the speed limit, happy to take my time, knowing we will eventually get to our destination.
I recognize these rhythms. The first trip pressing on with stress toward some goal, perceiving obstacles, not enjoying the journey one bit. The second a peaceful meandering to a destination I love, making progress on the road, but not at the cost of savoring the journey. It strikes me that this second trip is what God calls us to as we journey to return someday to our heavenly home. God calls us to be grateful travelers, not with our eyes down, glued on a lack of progress, but looking up with a deep gratefulness for the experience and with sweet anticipation of being welcomed home.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”MATTHEW 11:28-30