The Journey….really?

How many times have you heard, “It’s all about the journey?”

We hear journey language everywhere. Spiritual people talk about it. Outdoorsy folk sing it’s praises. Even Harley Davidson has used it in their marketing campaigns. I’ve been sucked into the metaphor as well. For me, “The Journey” evokes a picturesque path gently winding through a beautiful countryside. But Leonard Sweet points out in So Beautiful, “Journeys invite all sorts of irritations and interruptions. The English word travel comes from the French word for suffer travail and the Latin trepalium, a three pronged instrument of torture.” pg 88

You won’t see that on the banner at

I’ve had the chance to travel. It hasn’t always been glamorous, not often to exotic places or foreign lands or expensive resorts, but travel just the same. I enjoy it. I notice the most interesting and meaningful parts of the trip are usually about what went wrong. What I read while I waited for a delayed flight. What I learned or saw from taking a wrong turn. Someone I met because I needed help. The stories I come back telling aren’t about how smoothly things went.

I agree with Sweet, to journey means we open ourselves up to all sorts of inconveniences and potential troubles. And yet when we talk of the spiritual journey…even the Christian journey we often leave this out. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it too. I/we paint a picture where things always go well…at a comfortable and predictable pace. When I/we do this we do our friends great disservices.

We offer a mirage not the real thing. We are guilty of false advertising. We set people up for a huge disappointment. And when the wheels do fall off, our friends are in danger of shouldering the blame…like they aren’t doing it right…that it’s more evidence that they don’t get it or can’t do the spiritual thing right.

With that disclaimer, I would encourage anyone to take the journey. Remember you’re inviting irritations and interruptions. But remember even more…those are the places where life is most enriched.


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