I have an old, worn pair of Toms that say, “The Journey is the Destination” all over them that I have loved practically into oblivion. It feels like wearing the shoes of the Gospel of Peace with those words written on my feet; it feels like the Kingdom is already here.
One of my first summers as a camp counselor, the assistant director had a toddler daughter at camp with her. The little girl essentially had free reign of the large property and quickly learned all of the staff members’ names. She would stand on the big rock by the Rec Hall and yell out to us on the path, “Peaches, where are you going?” (my camp name is Peaches, yes it is).
At first, I would sort of politely ignore the question or say something like, “Oh hi sweetie, just down the path,” but that wasn’t good enough for her. She wasn’t satisfied until you said exactly where you were going and why. We used to joke that she was reporting back to her mother the activities of all of the staff members from her perch in the middle of camp.
On my last day at camp that summer, I wore my Toms and was hurrying down the path to say goodbyes and gather all of my things. The little girl asked, as usual, “Peaches, where are you going?” and I started to say something but realized I wasn’t sure. I was leaving camp and going to my parents’ house for a few days and then going off to college for the first time in a state I’d only been to once. I was feeling anxious and sad and stressed and, well, everything you feel during a transition like that.
I looked at my shoes and I looked at the little girl and I simply said, “I’m just going, hon.”
I think that’s more or less been the mantra of my life since then. If the only way out is through, I’m going through even if I don’t know exactly which way will get me to the other side.
I moved across international borders to follow a dream and I’m moving back because I have new dreams. I started a blog to write about travel and language learning and faith and journeys but I wrote about sex and Not Having It and it felt right and clearly most of you agreed. I don’t know where I’m coming from or where I’m going or what stops we’ll make along the way, but I’ve got feet in my shoes and that’s at least half of what Dr. Seuss thinks we need.
Years ago, I wrote a different post about these shoes on a now-dead blog from my college days, in which I asserted that the shoes actually weren’t theologically sound, that there was a destination that was better than the journey.
I’d like to formally recant that blog.
I think the shoes are right, theologically, philosophically, and experientially.
Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, “The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.” (Matthew 17:20-21)
The journey is the destination because we are destined for here, for now, for this Kingdom now and forever.
The point is not that the journey is over. The point is that it never will be.
In A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor’s Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace by Brain Zahnd, he writes, “Laboring in the name of Jesus to make the world a better place does not undermine faith in the Second Coming; rather it takes seriously God’s intention to repair the world through Christ and anticipates this hope by moving even now in the direction of restoration.”
We are not living waiting for another destination that will arrive on some unknown day, journeying on towards there without knowing how many miles to go. We are living in a world that will be made new, but that we won’t be leaving– this is our destination. Let’s love the journey and live the journey well, rather than biding our time until the train finally stops where we want to be. There are people to see and things to do on board.
(o quizás mejor dicho):
Let’s get exploring.
Photo by Kate Ter Haar via flickr.