My second “Pause for Thought” for BBC Radio 2 this year, which aired on the Richard Allinson Show, was on the subject of journeying. From earlier posts you may already know that I run a group for 16-24 year old Welsh Anglicans called The Journey, which emphasises that our faith can be viewed as a wonderful journey, rather than a destination. Many young people find this a liberating way of viewing faith. In my “Pause for Thought” I widen the concept of journeying to include, alongside the concept of faith as travelling, any actual journeys we may take and the idea of life itself as a journey.
I have just returned from our annual visit to my wife’s family in Bavaria. Last year we took the decision to drive all the way. I certainly wasn’t looking forward to the journey. It was, after all, going to be fourteen hours driving over three days, with a six year old and a ten year old in the back constantly asking if we’re nearly there yet! Yet I was to get a pleasant surprised. We had a great trip. From Wales we travelled through six different nations, passing stunning countryside and visiting various places on the way, including the Hoegaarden brewery in Belgium and Maastricht in the Netherlands, where we saw plenty of bicycles and tulips. We met many fascinating people on our travels and the European food was simply delightful! We also witnessed such beautiful scenery and were blessed to see all sorts of wildlife – deer, eagles, and even wild boar.
It’s interesting that when I now think of last year’s visit to Germany, it’s the long drive that I remember most. In our everyday lives, destinations have become so important to us, as we rush to get where we are going, and our journeys therefore often become merely a means to an end. We type the starting point and the destination into our Sat Navs, and the in-between almost becomes insignificant. Yet each of us can make a decision to enjoy our journeys – whatever form they take.
My son is obsessed with the Lord of the Rings films and so we seem to have them showing on a loop in our house! I frequently tease him that the films are nothing but a group of Hobbits on a very long walk, then, after nine hours, they finally reach their destination. He argues back that this is exactly the point! He is right, of course, as even Tolkien himself reminds us that ‘not all those who wander are lost’. The hobbits, after all, are transformed by their travels, learning lessons of friendship, mutual support, and sacrifice.
This year’s trip to Germany was by plane, so I missed out on last year’s wonderful car journey. But I still made sure I took time to even appreciate the flight. Journeys can certainly be boring sometimes, and they are not always smooth, but as we travel, it’s good to remind ourselves that it costs us nothing to enjoy the ride. As Ernest Hemmingway wrote: “it’s good to have an end to journey towards; but, in the end, it’s the journey itself that matters!”
- Lost and Found: BBC Radio 2 and Pause for Thought (trystanowainhughes.wordpress.com)