IS LIFE A JOURNEY, OR A SMORGASBORD?
You hear it a lot: Life is a journey. I love author Pat Conroy’s take on it: “Without music, life is a journey through a desert.” Howard, the protagonist from my first book, would agree with Pat. He says it like this:
“I’m Howard ‘The Declan’ McCreary,
I strum my guitar ’til I’m bleary.
If I write a song
Will you sing along?
For life without music is dreary.”
The phrase “Life is a journey” begs the question: a journey to where? I’ve never heard of anyone taking a journey without a destination in mind. What is your journey’s destination? Some would say, to fulfill all my dreams. To achieve all my goals. To read every self-help book on Amazon’s virtual shelf.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we will realize that the end of our journey is death [insert shiver here]. For the believer in Christ, that means eternal life with God. We believers typically do treat our lives as a journey that we travel together, with Christ as our leader. Close your eyes and imagine a narrow path, bodies trudging single-file, hands forming a human chain. At the head of the line, you see Christ. That’s one visual of the Christian life.
Some might argue, no, life is a smorgasbord. I recently read a blog asserting this. You get to sample everything, decide what you like, and ignore the rest. This resonates with me. At my age, I’ve figured out what I want on my plate, how much I want to consume, what I can’t live without. At my age, I want my life journey to include enjoyment and exclude unpleasantness. I don’t want to have to eat anything I don’t like.
Unfortunately, this approach isn’t exactly compatible with the life of a believer. Jesus described the Christian life as a narrow road. He said nothing about feasting along the way. He said we’d experience hardships and persecution. My own life smorgasbord has served up a few unpleasant surprises which looked appetizing from far away.
I now see it like this: we walk the narrow road behind Christ, but we sometimes get distracted when the buffet looks good. We fill our plates with the things that look delicious to us. Thus, although life IS a journey, we have an enemy who tries to waylay us with appetizing smorgasbords along the way.