Actually, the journey began long ago, but sometimes you don’t know you’re on a journey until you pass a milestone that you can identify, and from that, you realize which road you’re on. Only then can you begin to ask where you’re going and how to get there. Two vignettes illustrate this for me.
Roadmaps & Directions
Several years ago, a friend visited from out of town. While we waited in our apartment for him and his family to arrive, we received a phone call from him – he was a bit lost and couldn’t find his way to the address we’d given him. “No problem,” I said. “I’ll give you directions from where you are. Where are you now?” “I don’t know,” he says. (The astute person may see a problem emerging here.) “Tell me what you see,” I said. He started with “I’m in a phone booth, and I’m looking accross the road at…” and we went from there. We had a very nice visit when they arrived at our apartment a short time later. Sometimes you have to stop and figure out where you are before you can get where you want to be.
I used to have lunch from time to time with a guy was dearly loved by people from many churches in our city and the rural areas which surround it. He’d been a pastor in the city for some years, and easily wore the mantle of one with or without the title and paycheque. Many ascribed the title of prophet to him, and it’s something he did well but wasn’t necessarily that big on the title. He was one of the people instrumental in my understanding of the charismata, and I gleaned many insights from him, both in what he told me over the time I knew him and in how I saw him live and touch the lives of others. A few years ago he passed on to the place where he sees Jesus much more clearly. He went far too early and he’s still missed by many today. One day over gyros at our favourite lunch spot as we talked about various matters, he told me that in order to get where I was going without a roadmap, I should find some men who have been over that road or a very similar one before me, and ask them what milestones they passed by in their journey. In this way, I would be better able to recognize where I was in the journey and approximately where I needed to go next.