My family lives in a small town in Texas. Our oldest son recently moved to small town in Maryland where my parents live. It is a 1500+ mile trip and takes approximately 26 hours to drive.
When we leave, we know where we are headed. We know the path we are going to take. We know the large cities we will be driving through and where to anticipate heavy traffic. We sometimes even know the areas where there will be construction. We will often check weather reports along the route to know what we can anticipate.
We know what to expect when we leave. But we don’t always know to expect everything that can happen (like the flat tires we experienced in Arkansas, but that’s another story for another post).
Because we know the way, we are familiar with the halfway point–when we are closer to our destination than our starting point. I don’t know about you, but when I reach the halfway point something changes in my mind. I don’t feel quite as tired. I begin to get a little more excited.
There is something about approaching the destination that is invigorating.
But not every journey is like that. Some journeys we embark on without knowing the exact destination.
Sobriety is one such journey. I began my road to recovery a number of years ago. For the first year and a half, there were a lot of starts and stops. There were a lot of detours. There were a lot of days that I came pretty close to quitting the journey and staying where I was.
But slowly, I began to realize the absolute necessity of just making it through one day. And that day turned into another. And another. And before I realized I it, I had traveled quite a distance.
Now on this journey, there has been smooth sailing. There have been times when a number of days have been strung together that felt almost like coasting. And there have been other days, and sometimes a big number of days in a row, that were flat out awful. Days when I did just want to give up.
When I am driving from point A to point B, I can count the miles and the hours and know that I am closer to the end. I know that it will be worth it to persevere and keep moving on.
However, with sobriety, I don’t necessarily know where the end of the journey is. But I do know this: I never want to return to my starting place again. I do not want to retrace my steps. I do not want to relive the beginning of this journey. I have learned a lot along the way and for that I am grateful. But I do not want to relive those learning experiences.
So I keep moving forward.
I bring this up today because we are at the halfway point of what I have named the 40 Day Journey. I borrowed the 40 days from the season of Lent: the time between Ash Wednesday and Resurrection Sunday (or Easter). We are nearing the halfway point of that season, as well.
With Lent, there is a beginning and an end: we start on Ash Wednesday and we end on Resurrection Sunday. However, with our overall spiritual journey, as with sobriety, our journey does not necessarily have an ending point.
In fact, for many of us, we may not even be able to pinpoint a starting point on our spiritual journey. Many people can; there is a definite moment in their lives when they had an experience that completely changed the way they lived. However, I know there those like me who have always been meandering along this pathway of a spiritual life.
Some days, it is easy. Some days, I truly desire to spend time in silent reflection or to move and act in inspired ways. Both are a result of wanting to get closer to the God I believe in.
Some days are difficult. Some days leave me questioning if this God actually exists; if God actually knows what is going on.
Whether the days are easy or hard, I know (at least on an intellectual level) that I am moving forward in my journey. I may not know what the end looks like, but I know I do not want to go back to where I was. Each challenge has been a learning experience. I do not want to repeat them; yet I am grateful for the lessons I have learned.
With our earthly journeys, we know the place we are starting from and we know the place where we are going (usually).
With other journeys (such as sobriety or spirituality), we just know that we are moving forward. May we all take a step in the right direction today.