By Bruce Schlenke
I saw a man of older age taking a “walk” with his wife in our neighborhood. He was in a motorized wheelchair. I’d not remembered ever seeing him before. Perhaps they moved in recently, or maybe he was newly recovered from a debilitating accident and therapy. My natural, first thought was to feel sorry for him: confined, dependent, limited by his malady.
But then I heard the man talking to his wife and their pet dog. He was describing various flowers growing in my neighbor’s garden, the two cute little poodles peering out the bedroom window, and the creative shadow patterns the sun was casting in the front yard. I never make note of those things next door. I wouldn’t bother to do so; the world is too busy and consuming.
I suspect this couple’s riding/walking tour of the neighborhood took longer than my occasional quick walk around the block. Not as much because of the man’s restraints, but because of his heightened ability to observe and appreciate. I was reminded of the statement I had heard often but not appropriated into my life very much: “It’s not the destination as much as the journey that matters.”
The journey . . .
As much as I have enjoyed activity and action and work toward future goals, I’ve begun to realize more the “scenery” along the road – heretofore unnoticed beauties of God’s everyday world, the nuances of God’s natural design. There is so much to be enjoyed “along the way.”
King David sings this note of appreciation to God in the 16th Psalm: “You show me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy, in Your right hand are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11) Life is lived on the road with the Lord as our companion and guide. The destination is only the spot from which another road begins. The journey . . .
In the Apostle Paul’s later, imprisoned years, he speaks out of God’s gift of contentment in his letter to the Philippians Church: “Finally brethren, whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely or gracious; if there be any excellence or anything worthy of praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) Definitely there exists in life a much wider capacity to appreciate God’s ways.
Social beverage peddlers have said, “Life is short, so grab all the gusto.” I disagree. Life is long; enjoy the journey. For with God, it is full and beautiful.