Going places doesn’t necessarily make a life richer, not if all you ever do is take the well-worn route up the ladder of success or down the road of self-preoccupation.
Two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, and talking with each other about all that had happened. While they were talking, Jesus himself came near and went with them. – Luke 24:13-15 (NRSV, abridged)
After graduation, many of my high school classmates settled down in our hometown and stayed there. They rarely ventured out, not even to Boston, only 70 miles away yet distant and daunting as the Andes. They bought burial plots in town, too, and plan to use them.
Staying put like that used to be the norm. In times past, most people died in the houses they were born in, married someone from the block, and attended the same church from baptism to burial, accomplishing the purpose of their existence in a few square miles.
I used to think that such circumscribed lives were lesser lives; never going anywhere, a deprivation. But going places doesn’t necessarily make a life richer, especially if you never really understand where you’re headed and what it means to be going there. Not if all you ever do is take the well-worn route up the ladder of success or down the road of self-preoccupation.
These days, many of us are still living with virus-related restrictions. We’re weary, chafing to abandon our own four walls to range freely and far. We can’t, not yet. But we can go someplace special all the same. We can still take to the road. We can journey with Jesus, who spent 33 years in a place the size of New Jersey.
It’s a different kind of journey, a progress from false selves to real ones, from estrangement to solidarity, from self-concern to self-gift, from fear to an open heart. Even in confinement, it’s the trip of a lifetime. It bursts all bonds. And you can take it without leaving home.
O Jesus, let me go with Thee…
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.