Saturday morning--that is, three days or four days ago, depending on when you're reading this--my younger brother, BB, and my oldest daughter, E, hopped into a U-Haul truck on the south shore of Massachusetts and started driving west. They've crossed two time zones, three major rivers, about a zillion states (well, maybe a dozen), ate more fast food than I can count and are now in Missoula, Montana. They plan to arrive here in Bellingham, WA with all of BB's worldly goods sometime late tomorrow. That's four days to cross this whole continent. Four days to drive about 3100 miles. Now I'm not that at math, but even I know that's a whole lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time. In fact, E flew back there on Friday just in time to go to sleep, get up and start the drive back with BB Saturday. And little known fact, for those of you who don't know her, this is E's 3rd cross-country road-trip in 2012. She's either a glutton for punishment or in training to become a long-distance trucker.
BB's life back in Massachusetts came crashing down around him in June, but I have to admit I never expected him to live on this coast again. As much as I wanted him here. Every time he leaves, I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes to think of him being back there for good. But I didn't want him coming back here to be at such a cost.
However, the long, hard trip he's making with his life in that truck behind him, and the support of a niece (representing all of our family) beside him seems pretty telling to me. It's like a metaphor for the long, hard journey he's had to make this summer as he's worked through pain and loss and bitterness and anger to forgiveness and acceptance. And he's done it at a faster pace than I would have expected. Because he's done it with the help of the Holy Spirit in the seat beside him, or maybe even doing the driving of that U-haul, while he prays and reads and writes in his journal.
The truth is, we all make such journeys. Most of our lives are made up of them. We like to think we have the leisure for sightseeing, of course. And sometimes we do. Sometimes, God gives us time to brood and meditate and simply stop and smell the roses, as the old saying goes. But there are plenty of parts of our roads that must be traveled faster than we'd like them to be driven. I think of the speed at which our children grow up, for example. Those years moved in double-time, like we were driving in Montana, where the speed-limit is something outrageously high...just when we'd like there to be speed-bumps and slow-motion so we could savor it a little longer, because, after all, they're little so short a time. But then there are the days (or weeks, perhaps) when we're waiting for a loved-one to die. And time seems to stand still, almost. When you can count a person's very breaths, you know time's passing slowly.
But, for the most part, driving across this large continent is a pretty good metaphor for what it's like to drive through our lives. Varied terrain, scenery, speeds, and experiences.
And we're almost always pulling a U-Haul with our own stuff behind us. BB says he doesn't know how much of that stuff he really needs. I can certainly relate to that, thinking of the house (and basement) full of stuff we have around here. And I think often of all the stuff I carry around inside my head that is just plain junk. All those pieces of useless information that I can pull up randomly when necessary. Why do I still know my locker combinations from middle school and high school? And my addresses from college, Holland and India? And, of course, all those birthdays... Really. And what more important, Kingdom-files could take their place if I could only jettison such pieces of junk? (Or does it even work that way?)
It's a common practice for people to be asked if they believe that life is a journey or a destination. And more often these days, the 'better' answer is that it's a journey. But I say, it's both. BB and E wouldn't be tearing up I-90 in record time if they weren't trying to get somewhere. To get here so BB can move out to Friday Harbor (on San Juan Island-Yippee!!!) to start a new job next week. And for those of us who are in the know, who understand that we aren't merely ambling around this earth for no apparent reason, of course there's a destination.
We're on our way Home.
On a journey, yes. Enjoying the road, yes.
But with an eye toward Home.
Which begs the question,
"Are we there yet?"