My sister, her husband and two kids came to visit me in Nashville earlier this summer. Given what it costs these days to put four people on a plane it made better sense for them to pile in their minivan and make the twelve-hour trek for whatever a few fill-ups of gas would require. And a few stops for apple juice and fries. We had an amusing week of eating at local burger joints and ice cream shops, working in my garden, swimming at a friend’s pool, barbecuing in the backyard. When it was time to leave Brad and Katie strapped both Maryn, who’s five, and Emmett, who’s three, into their respective car seats, and up the road they charged towards Virginia.
Later that day Katie called me to tell me that they’d made it safely, and that Emmett had had a colossal meltdown when they pulled into their driveway. “I don’t wanna go home! I wanna go back to Aunt Kelly’s house,” he moaned falling apart.
“Honey, it’s time for us to go back to our own house now,” Katie calmly soothed while scrunching up his blanket against his light-skinned face and pile of red hair.
Brad piped up, “Where in the world did he think we were going this whole time? I mean, we’ve been in the car for twelve hours!” He brings up a solid point.
As adults we can appreciate how myopic a child’s worldview can be. Emmett had been in his car seat for no less than a full day, yet had no idea where he was headed. Shocked, the little guy was to see his house. To think I’ve outgrown this way of thinking would be silly; Yes, I usually know where I’m going when in the car, but in life, I’m not always so aware. The reality is that I get sidetracked by daily demands, the stuff so many are saddled with like making sure bills are paid, lawns are mowed, kids’ homework is getting done, friends are receiving quality time, and the laundry pile hasn’t grazed the ceiling. Not to mention keeping a business running or a family in order.
As I grow older, one of my desires is to live more purposefully in light of where I’m ultimately headed. This doesn’t mean forsaking what needs to be done in a day, but simply requires an adjustment of heart, a tweaking of priorities and a shift of where my hope is placed. In view of where we’re journeying to, Peter reminds us to pray more often, intensely love one another, show our community warm hospitality, use our gifts to serve one another, and let our speech be clad in God’s truths. (I Peter 4:7-11) When our lives are thus characterized, we inevitably live with hearts and minds set on the hope of Home. The hope of Jesus.
A dear friend of mine who’s passing through a dim valley wrote these hopeful words:
There’s a sense that we’re all walking on the road called Paradise Drive, off it are other highways down which we detour to complete God’s purpose, but eventually they all wind their way back to Paradise Drive, until the next signpost and the next – until the signposts finally cease and we complete that long walk to our final destination.
As believers in Jesus, that destination will be seeing Him face to face as He welcomes us Home. Since this is where we’re all journeying, may we live our lives here on earth toward such a glorious end; one that will be but the beginning…