Next year is a special anniversary.
We hope to splash out and do something unique. The world truly is our oyster – apart from those places not a beach, nor hot, nor that don’t “look right”, that don’t seem to be “us” …
Which still leaves loads of places!
And if we are going to fly, then – on this occasion – we want to fly in style (as in business class). In fact the greater part of the budget will be flights rather than “holiday”.
We have found that lazing on a beach doesn’t need a lot of fancy add-ons. We have found gourmet food looks good but simple hearty food is great. That silly-price drinks taste just the same as supermarket-price drinks. But mainly – that pretending to be who we are not is not good nor great – because we like who we are!
But sitting in a plane for 10 hours (twice) … with fellow-passengers who will take every last inch of room they can … with “staff” who will deliver stuff because they must … with everyone thinking “are we there yet” … with gritting teeth become grinding teeth the longer the flight (or is that just me).
Those ten hours (times two) are important. Because the journey is also the destination. There is no difference between getting there and being there. Each moment is a memory. Each moment is a moment.
“If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!” John 14:15-17 The Message
I was taught that (the destination of) heaven is the most important thing. That the getting there is a journey of sacrifice, burden and obedience – that it must be a journey of sacrifice, burden and obedience. Because I am sinner. And sinners sin. Which is why a journey of sacrifice, burden and obedience. That is what (really) gets me into heaven: gratitude and sacrifice. Or else why the need for that kind of “journey” at all?
Nine years ago we were welcomed on board a commercial flight by name. It has never happened since. It may never happen again.
That moment changed me. The person who welcomed us changed me.
The getting there was no longer something to be endured for the being there. There was no difference. Right now this moment is the only destination I can ever have.
So as “we” go to church today (or not), as we pray for forgiveness, as we sing songs of praise and worship, as we are taught about the destination of eternal life making this daily grind bearable …
Might that be a reason why “we” struggle with grace freely given and unconditional love?
Because we are taught we must travel in economy?
Which means looking for that extra inch and thinking “are we there yet?” and NEVER letting ourselves (or anyone else) turn left … That I must travel your journey of sacrifice, burden and obedience or else I have not earned my place in your affections or heaven?
Or is that just my take on Christian teaching?