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journey
divine power
short cuts
circles
curve
fear
The Circuitous Journey
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The Circuitous Journey

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said this: “There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler.”

How true that is. As we travel our life journey, it becomes clear to us sooner or later that we simply do not know the meaning of every twist and turn. That causes fear in us and we are afraid to take the next winding curve not knowing what may be beyond. It causes fear when two roads cross and we do not know which is the best way to turn. It can be disconcerting to reach a simple fork in the road knowing that one of the forks will become “The road not taken.”

The religious folk among us like to think that some higher power is guiding every step and that we are compelled by such a higher power to take the right way. Perhaps someone or something is leading us with that level of certainty, but we still move forward with fear. No matter how certain we are that our every step is guided, we know that we have choices to make and directions to take. And without an audible voice of the some divine power, we could just take a path that’s not the best path to take.

There is always the fear of taking the wrong path, to be sure. But there is also grace for our journeys.

A lovely labyrinth carved of walnut tells its own story about our journeys. I have found great insight walking labyrinths or even using my walnut finger labyrinth to simulate a life journey.

There are no short cuts on a labyrinth. If you have ever walked on one, you might have thought you were going around in circles, without any particular direction. The truth is that, as in life, you were going around a prescribed path of circuits that definitely would have led you to the prize, which is called the glorious center. On my labyrinth the center is much like a five-petaled flower.

But you can only get to the center if you follow the path. The path sometimes takes you very close to the center even when you are not there yet. So you may think you are very close to the center when, in fact, you are not. Keeping your “eyes on the prize” and watching for the center may even get you off course. You keep your eyes, instead, directly on the path ahead of you and you follow it carefully.

Jump the path and cross a circuit and you may get to the center sooner, but you get there prematurely. There’s no sense of joy and accomplishment in that. You may start to think you will never get there by following the circuitous path, but you do.

It’s a pretty accurate picture of life’s journey with all its twists and turns, sometimes unexpected. Short cuts most always fail, and one must simply throw off the fear and follow his or her own best path to get to his or her own good place.

Taking a journey is always full of unknown meaning, fear, and even risk. But I love the words of Anaïs Nin:

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

Our journeys are full of meaning and full of risk. But our lives will blossom if we take our journey, one step at a time, in hope and faith.


Street Talk

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