Day 1 of our trek from Cape Town to Kigali. The N7 heads north along the west coast of South Africa to Namibia and towards our destination 8500 kilometers away in Rwanda. We stopped for a last view of a familiar sight in the mirror.
There’s a motivational poster somewhere with a message that goes something like: ‘If you want to discover new horizons you need to have the courage to lose sight of the shore.’ That may be true and inspiring to you – it may not be.
At the end of a time at school, or job, a relationship, or even your life one day you’re faced with the task of getting ready to leave behind familiar things and immersing yourself in something new. The familiar might be something you’ve hated and can’t wait to be rid of, it might be something you can’t bear to imagine letting go. The road ahead may point to new and exciting things, or dragons lying in wait, their nostrils sticking out of the watery unknown.
No matter what the destination, we are, for better or worse, shaped by the journey we are on. If my life – and experience of riding motorcycles across four continents – is anything to go by it’s the people, the breakdowns, the discovery of things you never dreamed existed, the improvising, repairing, the remembering and sharing of stories, the detours and monotony of eating up the miles that leave us different people.
You’re unlikely to read much of the Bible without seeing something there about being changed. A lot of growing up is a matter of dealing with the slow, painful process of becoming mature. We are told, though, that the destination is pretty good – if a little mysterious. Apart from the hints in John’s vision in Revelation, being fully able to love and be loved; to know who you really are and that you’re ok; and to see the fruit of your life’s work seems worth it to me.
For any journey there are things worth packing into a travel bag. Here are three for the one you might be on: courage, hope and as much faith as you can gather that God is somehow with you – even in the detours and dead ends. A companion or two to travel with and some help from those who have travelled your way before are worth finding space for too.
‘My Father’s house has many rooms’ Jesus once told his frightened disciples who were staring down an unfamiliar road too. If that promise is to be believed then any step down an unknown road is, at its deepest level, a step further on a journey home.