Friday, September 19, 2014

Enjoy The Ride

There is nothing new under the sun, and analogies about our endless struggle on the journey of life have been plenty. But you know, when you hear the right one, and it all finally seems to make sense. Well, for a time anyway :) So, on the chance that this speaks to anyone else but me, I would like to share my newest metaphor for life.

It came about as I was praying over a scripture study I was doing. Now, before I move on, I need to be completely honest, I have not daily read my Bible since spring, and I have likely not even read it once a week since July. But I was determined this fall to get back into a routine of scripture study, not just reading, but studying. Yesterday was my second day back into it.  I decided to do a topic study on trusting God. I've had a hard time of that lately. I've been very tired of waiting.  So, back to my story.

God, I called out, I am so tired of wandering blind. I feel like I have been wandering in this thick fog for 9 years, floundering around, not sure if I'm going in the right direction, and every time I find something meaningful it's because I stumbled upon it. When I have asked, You have shown me I am on the right path, you shine just enough light for me to look down and know I'm still on it. You assure me it is your path, not some other path, and then I go on my merry way. But I'm so tired of not knowing. Why can't the light shining on my feet show me arrows or a map, so I at least know I am taking the straightest route to my destination.

And then He showed me. Even if I got from point A to point B immediately, the fog would not have lifted, I still wouldn't know what to do when I reached point B. I would have just stayed, standing in that spot, until the appointed time arrived. In my mind the fog began to lift to reveal I am on a large ferry, floating along on it's own course, guided by the hand of God. My destination isn't point B. My destination cannot be found no matter where I wander, blind or with a map, because point B is just the docking station for when the ferry has reached the shore. I cannot go anywhere but where the ferry is taking me. And so no matter what I do I cannot get to my destination any sooner or any later than I am supposed to.

Life is a series of ferries. On each one we have freedom to do and go as we please, it doesn't affect reaching our appointed docking station. When the ferry arrives it arrives on it's own schedule. If we aren't at the docking station when it reaches shore, that's ok, it won't go anywhere, we won't miss our next ferry connection.  What we can miss is all the opportunities to grow closer to God along the journey. We can miss the opportunity God has given us to shine His light to someone else on the journey. But we won't miss the boat, so to speak.

For example, I believe at one such docking station, as I got on to a new ferry, Sean was also getting on that same ferry. There were a few times we almost connected but didn't. Once we finally did there were a lot of interruptions to the deeper connection. The marriage docking station was ahead of us, no matter what happened, but because of some of the choices we made in our freedom to do and go as we pleased we ended up taking baggage on to the marriage ferry unnecessarily. We arrived right where we were supposed to, but our experience on the next ferry would be shaped by how we had spent the last ride.

And, now I'm certain we're heading to the parenthood docking station. This has been the longest ferry ride yet. With all the time we've had we've certainly learned to get rid of some of that baggage, we've learned to avoid creating new baggage for the next journey. I know we've learned to make much better choices on this ride. But I realize now learning wasn't earning a faster ride. The length of each ride has always been predetermined.  It's the same with our desire to be counselors, we're on the school ferry now, and at least getting on this ferry we knew it is a long distance haul, but we're so eager for the dock where we finally get to make a life around helping people. My dear friend pointed out to me, just because that dock of being counselors is far away doesn't mean we aren't helping people on the ferry we're on now.  God still has purpose for us in the journey, the purpose isn't only at the destination.

And so, here we are on this ferry, and yes, still in the fog, with no ferry schedule to clue us in to arrival time. We're left with two choices; one, continue futile efforts to do things here that feel like they are controlling the ferry, or two, enjoy the ride. Not that we just sit idly by, but we learn to listen to God so we know when it IS time to just be still and wait and enjoy the scenery. Or so we know we should talk to that person sitting next to us.  Or so we know how to let go of things that don't belong on the next ferry. Or so we know how to prepare for the next journey.

Jesus, I really, really want to enjoy the ride, please help me enjoy the ride.

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