A journey along a treelined path

When I launched this blog just moments ago, and went to view its natal form, I was surprised—and very pleased—to see the default image that had been included. The lone traveler, walking along a treelined path with various shrubs and meadows to the side, mottled in sunlight and shade, strikes me as very much like my path in life, as well as one which I’d like to invite others to come along on, as they like.

God has a life and place for us, not the one we might design for ourselves, but the one we pass through and grow in naturally—the only one we’ll ever be satisfied or fulfilled in. The people, experiences, and places he has us encounter already exist in the world he created, whether we’ve encountered them yet or not—and whether or not we even know they’re around us. We’re certainly participants on this path, but it’s a silly misconception to think “we” craft or make our own way. (Though we can be really good at cluttering it up, like piling junked cars along the road.)

I don’t entirely know what I’ll encounter on this path—as neither do you, on yours. But I do know that a lot of it will be fascinating, moving, sometimes thought-provoking, by turns inspiring or disturbing or outrageous or comforting or ridiculous or noble or heartrending or like the sunrise bursting golden above rugged hills and silver-leaden clouds. Often, some or all of those at once.

I hope you’ll share some of your journey here, too, because all these paths interweave in various ways, you know, like a great, complex tapestry across the landscape; and it takes all the threads and paths together to make the design of the whole world, all its life, everything and everyone in it. We might not always like what we see, but we’re not the ones weaving this living world. And each of us is needed in it as much as anyone else is, so your path helps fill out, even color or shape, the design reflected in others’ lives.

The air is fresh and scented with life, there under the trees and among the shrubs and meadows. There are places we may stop and rest a while, reflecting on what’s around us, breathing in the life and presence of God and all he’s created and does in others’ lives; and times we’ll go on mad romps over hill and dale, or maybe just swing by our knees from a tree limb for a while, looking at the world upside down for a different perspective. We’ll tuck fragrant herbs in our hair to spice the air around us; pick a bunch of flowers and hand them out to people or drop some in a stream as a memorial; let leaves and fronds and branches caress us as we move through them, like friends giving affectionate greeting that we’ll return.

I can’t guarantee the topics we’ll explore here, except I can guarantee that some of them will be “inspiring or disturbing or outrageous or comforting or ridiculous or noble [etc.]”, as I mentioned above. You can’t explore life and expect it always to be what you find comfortable or familiar; that isn’t an exploration, after all, but a living room. On the other hand, in an exploration you have to have places where you can rest or find refuge, places to climb up and get a wide perspective from a safe distance, places that are indeed comforting and familiar, and where you can meet with those you know and love as well as meet new faces or cultures or places you never imagined existed.

In other words, just like the exploration of life. That’s what I hope this will be, and I’ll welcome your contributions as well that bring in your own journeys to enrich everything else we’re going through together here.

“Imagination is greater than knowledge—for knowledge is limited, but imagination encompasses the whole world” (Albert Einstein).

“Most of our so-called reasoning consists of finding arguments for going on believing as we already do” (historian James Harvey Robinson [1863-1936]).

Exploration and adventure are found in going the other direction—embracing the whole world God gave us, and finding out whether what we already believe or know or think we know is really as we thought, or is completely different.

But the trees shade the path, and the air is fresh and scented with life. Breathe as you travel!

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2 Responses to A journey along a treelined path

  1. chuck says:

    Roger, thank you for this post.

    I know it’s old, but I have found myself constantly going back to “spiritual journey” as the metaphor of our walk/life with God. It certainly isn’t static. And there is a destination. But for the most part, our Christianity consists in the day to day experience of life, with all of its challenges (that test our faith, love, hope, etc.).

    Your post has helped me see that the journey also includes stretches of road in which we move at a casual pace, experience beauty, and enjoy the company of a friendly and thoughtful traveling companion.

    Grace and peace.

    • Thanks — I think for my own part, my life has undergone so many changes, usually in so many unpredictable ways, that “journey” is the only way to understand it (as opposed to, say, “a commute”, where you pretty much know the familiar route and the destination).

      When I was a kid, we used to take trips at least every other summer, usually up through California to visit family in Oregon, often detouring through national parks, or up part of the Coast Highway. Some stretches (like through the Central Valley) were dreary, but even then, wonder at where we’d been and anticipation of our next destination made even the worst legs more endurable — we could be in endless flatness, when suddenly, Mount Shasta! Peeking over the horizon far ahead! And we knew it would be getting ever larger and more amazing in our view, with every mile.

      I know all that was part of an early preparation for seeing all of life that way, as well. I’m really glad this resonates with some people, since your own journey will always have a lot of insights and experiences that can enrich others, too.

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