50 Days of Hope : Day 46 : Walking in Circles is still a journey

I have found these past few days difficult and frustrating as I’ve revisited in my mind events and conversations, moments and places, that I really want to leave behind. As I read my bible this morning I was focusing on Psalm 51 v 6, ” I desire truth in the hidden places’, and I know that I need to keep honest with God about what is going on in my heart and mind.

And I think it is not coincidence that today I found that a reader had linked to this site from a guest post which I had posted elsewhere, and when I looked it up I read something I wrote months ago which speaks to me today!

I am sharing it here, not to be read as a justification for why I seem to go backwards, but as an exercise in truth and a reminder to keep going.  I hope that it will encourage you too. This was originally posted as part of a longer piece on The Inspired Story.

“My past year has been a difficult one, and I’ve described it as a journey towards Hope.

But I find I am circling back to the same places again and again, and as I keep coming back to the same settlement both I and it have changed each time. Yes, I am still seeing it again, but doesn’t it look different? Don’t I notice things I’ve never seen before? Doesn’t it look a little less solid each time, and rather more ramshackle? Can’t I see the tumbleweed starting to blow through the streets? And as I return, am I the same as when I’d last been there? The places on my journey may have been familiar, but I am not who I was when I started out. As with all journeying the traveller has been changed on the journey.

This seems to me to be a really important thing to understand – it’s not a bad journey or a wrong turning if we re-visit old places. As a traveller brings fresh eyes to places, I too need to look at the once familiar places and see them afresh, anew. Recognise that I don’t want to stay there. It’s not the place I thought it was. It’s better to leave again. And if I keep returning for a while, that’s ok. And some day I will realize that it’s a bigger circle that takes me away, and it’s a greater time between the returnings.

The language of journeying is full of certain end points. I am going to …… When I get there ……. How much further to…..? It’s a very different experience when we don’t know the destination. This is new for me. To walk without any sense of the place that I am going to. What I am discovering is that the paths are made clear as I need to know.

I have met fellow travellers who cheer me with their tales of mountains climbed and the views from the peaks. Travellers who understand the journey through the desert, the sinking sand, the longing to reach the ocean. Travellers who have seen the open fields and meadows full of wild flowers.

We eat and drink and sing and tell stories of those who have gone before us, who have fought the fights along the way, who have finished the race. We start again on our way refreshed.”

Truth in the hidden places: I am still walking in circles but they are getting bigger, and I know that I am not alone as I walk. God with us is a promise.

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