Thursday, February 25, 2010

three journeys

I am writing this from my hotel room on the 11th floor, a block from the Pacific Ocean in Honolulu. It is reading week at my university and Dean and I are spending it doing some reading (it is obligatory, I am told) and relaxing with his parents near Waikiki Beach. The trip here on Monday was a bit of an adventure. I have been learning that how the journey happens is not always an indication of success or God's favourable presence in my life.

A week ago, I had two days when I had important appointments to keep. On the first day, I missed my first bus because it was early, then missed another connection, and the whole trip was feeling quite out of control and late. However, I got to my appointment with a few minutes to spare, no problem. The next day, I was nice and early for my first bus, caught my second bus just as it was leaving and every step of the way was a picture of clockwork perfection. I got to my appointment a few minutes early, just like the day before. How was it that despite everything going wrong one day and my schedule running as smoothly as a well-oiled machine the second day, that I arrived at the end of both journeys with a few minutes to spare? What was the difference between the two? Aside from fretting and being frustrated and anxious the first day, and then exhibiting a level of confidence and excitement at how everything was working in my favour, even getting a little cocky at my blessed state on the second day, nothing was different. The journeys ended the same.

On Monday, when my flight out of Montreal was delayed by 45 minutes and put the rest of my trip in jeopardy because it meant I would miss my next two connections, I remembered these two days. How the journey appears to be taking shape has little to do with the outcome. Some journeys make me uptight because my calculated agenda is being messed with, and others go so right that I develop some misplaced confidence that God is on my side. In reality, both my journeys last week landed me in the right place at the right time. I think I am often too focused on how the dots will connect instead of seeing what a beautiful and original picture God is drawing with my life, using brushstrokes that are broad and free.
As for my travel day on Monday, I managed to technically miss both my connections, but they turned into different and more interesting connections. In the first instance, somebody decided to let 11 latecomers onto the plane after the door was closed and the docking bay had been retracted. In the second instance, I was immediately re-booked onto another airline and even had the luxury of going to the bathroom and buying a drink before I hopped onto the last plane. I arrived in Hawaii 45 minutes later than scheduled. I would have been just as content if I had been forced to spend a night in LA and had my arrival delayed by 12 hours. The journey would have landed me in the right place eventually and really, that was all that mattered.
This is one of the great views on the flight between Detroit and LA.

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