Monday, May 14, 2007

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles...

... and ships. No, it's not an update of the Steve Martin/John Candy movie. It's how Nancy and I (and my parents) made our way around the Pacific Northwest for over ten days. We flew to Chicago, entrained to Seattle, ferried to Victoria, BC and back to Seattle, entrained to Eugene, OR, automobiled up the Oregon coast and through the Columbia Gorge, and flew back home. Quite a journey -- magnificent scenery, great times with friends and family, and the joy of seeing new things (such as sea lions swimming wild in the ocean).

But, being one of those people who think too much, I couldn't help but reflect on the fact that no matter how we traveled, our route was pretty much determined for us. The train, obviously, followed the tracks. The ferry followed the shipping channels. The car followed the roads from Eugene to Florence and then up the coast. The plane followed air routes established by the FAA. The way was determined for us. Which is unlike our way through life to God. No meandering on planes, trains, ships, or roads for those of us who are traveling commercially. Which is probably one reason why our way to God is more of a hiking pilgrimage than a tour.

On a hike we can stay on the road, walk the rails, swim a while, or just wander off the path and see what we want to see. Or we can nap in the meadow, climb a tree in the woods, or get lost. A hike is not quite as safe and comfortable as a plane (even in economy), train (even while waiting on a siding for a passing freight), or ferryboat (with free champagne breakfast). But we see and feel and learn things we can't any other way.

So here's to hiking through life, experiencing the joys and sorrows of the way. And here's to happy feet!

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