Initially, we were going to call our maiden post, “Turning Corners.” A title that might reflect my sense of relief over having finally arrived as a stand-up counseling ministry (who knew?) were it not for God whispering in my ear, “Are you kidding me? After all this time, you still think it’s about destinations?”
Well, uhhh… Of course not.
Intellectually, I know the really good stuff in life isn’t hoarded up in some steamer trunk we finally get to open when we reach the end of the line because Life’s a journey, right? But on a functional level, do you ever feel like you’re living incrementally? Like you’re experiencing and assessing your life one plan, one goal, one “I made it!” at a time? Man, I do. Not that there’s anything wrong with schedules or pursuing goals. Take Jesus, for example. He was a really busy guy with a really important agenda. Yet while his agenda was revealed incrementally through individual events, he maintained a wonderfully serious sense of, “No, we’re not there yet.” Even when it looked like he arrived (“It is finished!”), the journey continued for three days with death in hell, forty days with friends on earth, and forever more on a throne next to his father in heaven. In light of this, to say that no one ever truly arrives would be an understatement.
To press the point even further, creation recently reminded me that there’s always something still ahead. I spent Memorial Day weekend at the beach watching one wave after the other come and go. Day in and day out. Each wave hesitating on the sand but for only a moment to leave some deep-sea treasure behind. Pieces of coral, a shell, sparkles of light on the water. Every treasure possessed a beauty of own but only in that it reflected a small part of a grander, more beautiful ocean. That’s when it hit me: We don’t turn corners and finally arrive. We turn pages and go deeper and deeper in to a grander story, which, as it turns out, is not ultimately about us. Thank God. It’s about a greater beauty, a more noble intention. It’s about Jesus… The person and the journey.
The thought that ties all this together for me is that, like those small ocean treasures washed up by the tide, we’re specially made to draw attention to something greater than ourselves. To reflect something more beautiful. And it’s the human journey that is both the context and grist for discovering (sometimes unwittingly) what this means and what difference it makes, not just for us but also for others.
So I wonder… Did Jesus get to the other side of the cross and say to himself, “Phew, I finally made it!” I doubt that. I think he’s still on the go. Moving in and out of the world and our lives through acts of compassion, justice, mercy, kindness, patience, and grace. If so, then wouldn’t the idea of turning pages instead of corners make sense as a metaphor for the process of learning to live in such a way that we, too, could to do the same?