Because sometimes the journey is more significant than the arrival.
Yesterday, I asked my husband, Darrel, a question that I will also now pose to you: Does the journey to get back from an undesirable destination always mean that by default, we must go back the way we came?
The question led us to talk about the possibility of road blocks, accidents, and unforeseen traffic, as there are always others on the journey, too, and sometime, just trying to share the road can cause delays. 😉
As we pondered, what became clear is that sometimes taking the road back from an undesirable place means going back, exactly the way we came: undoing what has already been done. Many of us may recall a time in which we have retraced our steps in order to undo what has been done, and that method of backtracking has served us well. However, what Darrel and I illuminated in our talk together is that there are other ways to end up in a different and perhaps better place.
There is the possibility of taking a different route that still gets us back to where we started. And while this route could be either longer or shorter, more or less scenic, etc., it will undoubtedly expose us to something new, offering opportunities for learning and stretching.
There is also the possibility of leaving the undesirable place, and setting out to go to yet another undiscovered place, as opposed to going back to where we came from at all. This option, which may require a new set of directions altogether, also offers a sense of adventure and wonder, though it may be accompanied by trepidation and some level of fear.
Yet another possibility is to look around once more, this time with a new set of eyes, and rather than taking another physical/geographical journey, we move ourselves mentally, emotionally, spiritually, choosing to see the place that we have labeled as undesirable, differently. What may we have missed at first glance, that when given an opportunity to see the place more deeply, might reveal a richness and a beauty that we neglected before.
Moreover, what in the undesirable place may legitimately need restoration that our gifts and talents are aligned to support?
Sometimes, the journey from the undesirable place to the different, perhaps improved place begins inside ourselves and never requires us to physically or geographically reposition ourselves at all.
In the spirit of polarity management, and perhaps more importantly, when we inhabit a contemplative mind, we allow ourselves room to consider more possibilities, more options, the reality that each of the proposals have credence and potential to be measured against context, and most significantly, to be tested.
This journey metaphor and all of its considerations could be applied in many “places,” some geographical (“Where/Who am I being led from/to?”), some communal (“What is my ‘place’ in gender, race, spiritual reconciliation?”), and some personal (“What is my role to play in mending this or that personal relationship?” “How am I doing the work of reconciling me unto myself on issues or challenges I have with myself?”).
In closing, it is my deep desire for all of us that while we are taking into consideration the prescriptive answers, solutions, and responses that even our most tired and true institutions have arduously developed with our best interest at heart and in mind, that we would hold it all loosely, that it may be searched to discover what of it is best for each of us in the perfect and distinct ways we have been imagined and created. For it is in this process that we will discover the best route to take on this journey of (and not to) sweet redemption. Selah.