As I make a final right-hand turn onto our street,
my GPS informs me that I've "reached my destination".
"My destination," I laugh aloud to myself.
“My GPS doesn't know squat.”
Someone once said that it is not the destination but the journey that matters. I don’t think that person ever made a cross-country trip with a car load of kids. If that individual had, he or she would agree that it is the destination that matters . . . damn the journey and let’s get there!
I think a deep rooted question we all have is whether or not we have reached our destination . . . whether or not we are where we are going as individuals . . . whether or not we have come to realization of what we dreamed we would be way, way back when we started the journey. I think that question is the eternal travel question . . . are we there yet?
Can anyone honestly answer that question?
I don’t know. I can honestly state that it is a question that I struggle with from time to time in my own life . . . have I become what I am supposed to be? And, all I keep coming up with is . . . somewhere along the way I got lost. I think that we all do . . . I think that we all sell ourselves short as we journey through life.
One of my favorite authors is Joseph Campbell. Campbell was a mythology professor who wrote about people finding their “bliss” . . . finding their “purpose” . . . to give meaning to their lives. If you find and follow your bliss you will find meaning . . . if you find meaning, you will find purpose . . . and, ultimately you will find yourself. You will arrive at your destination . . . or, as he puts it: “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” Somewhere along the way, I got lost . . . don’t we all? Don’t we all, from time to time on this journey we call life, get lost?
Campbell would tell us that those things that make our hearts beat faster and harder . . . those are the things that are connected to our bliss. He would tell us that those things that make us excited and anxious to do . . . those are connected to our bliss. He would say that those things that grab our attention . . . grab our hearts . . . those are the signs of bliss in our lives. Those things that we spend hours thinking about . . . dreaming about . . . learning about . . . those are the things of bliss. Often they are not the things that we spend the majority of our time doing. No, we spend most of our time going through the rote of just making it through the day. Find your bliss, Campbell would say, and find your purpose and meaning and yourself!
I think that most of us would love to do that . . . I know that I would; but, that means I would have to stop what I am doing right now. It would mean that I would have to stop in my journey . . . stop in my attempt to reach that destination that is always somewhere out there in front of me. It would mean that I would have to stop, take stock, and admit that I have not been honest with myself in this journey I call life. As it would be for me, so it would be for everyone. And, boy is that scary.
Scary, but shouldn’t we be honest with ourselves? Shouldn’t we quit selling ourselves short? Shouldn’t we start believing in ourselves? Are we attempting to survive or are we really honoring the God-given right to become who God created us to be?
There are certain areas in my life that really get me excited, yet when I look at my life I am not doing any of those things on a daily basis. Oh sure, I think that I allow myself to dabble in them from time to time, but the truth is that I am too scared to step out and commit myself and my life to them. They might not put food on the table. Might not pay the monthly mortgage. Might not allow me all the toys I enjoy in my life. Might not let me keep up with the Jones family that lives down the street. Might not contribute to my retirement fund . . . put gas in the car . . . it is scary. So, for the time being, a dabble here and there is all I have . . . just enough to keep the flame flickering.
Campbell would acknowledge that fear because it is real; yet, at the same time, he would encourage me and everyone else to step out and embrace the bliss . . . it is our destiny . . . our only means of fulfilling God’s touch upon our lives and becoming who God created us to be. Campbell would say: “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” He would also say: “If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.”
If we are honest with ourselves we would have to admit that there is always that longing to reach that destination . . . there is always that eternal looping question, are we there yet?
One of the great joys in my life right now is my two-year old granddaughter. I love the time that I get to spend with her . . . it is a great blessing. I love seeing the world and life through her eyes . . . seeing the sunset in her eyes. Some would say that she is opening up the world around me so that I can see it; but, I would disagree . . . she is reminding me of that which I have abandoned . . . abandoned in the hope of surviving until I reach “my destination”. The truth is that my granddaughter is living . . . living in the moment . . . embracing the gifts, dancing with life, being herself. She is not trying to get anywhere because she is already there . . . she is in the moment and the moment is wonderful. She knows her bliss and her bliss is right there where she is at . . . nothing else matters. Her laughter and giggles mark her bliss. She always makes me long for that which we all seek . . . the privilege of being who we are. Campbell says: “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
The funny thing is that we all know the answer to the question, are we there yet? One of the greatest truths from the Bible is to stop and know God . . . to be still and know God. As it is with God, so it is with us . . . we must stop and know ourselves. We are the answer to the question. Yet we throw so much of life away seeking the answer when we are the answer . . . or, as Campbell says, “Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”
As we spend a lifetime attempting to find our way to some destination, we need to realize that the destination has always been with us. It is discovering and embracing who God created us to be . . . to love ourselves as God created us to be . . . that is the greatest bliss . . . that is where we are heading. Sometimes it takes a two-year old to remind us . . . and, sometimes it takes the courage of a two-year to embrace it and make it who we are. I know that my granddaughter likes it when G-pa lets down his hair, sits on the wall, and throws rocks into the yard . . . it is being in the moment of who we are. Two people who love each other for who they are in that moment.
I think that if I keep hanging around my granddaughter I just might find my way back to who God wants me to be. I threw the GPS away . . . granddaughters are a better gauge on making my way back home again and discovering who I am. Am I there yet? Not quite, but I am getting closer all of the time.