A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Life Is a Journey-- Enjoy It!

Anyone who enters the front door of our house will find her or himself in a small entryway. On the facing wall there is a plaque which reads, "Life is a journey-- enjoy it!"

Twenty-five years ago today one of the best things in life happened to me-- I married the love of my life, Carol. Life with her these past twenty-five years has truly been an enjoyable journey. I cannot nor do I ever want to imagine my life without her. Indeed, one of the things I have discovered in life is how unimagined events along the way in life become those things whose absence make life unimaginable.

In the movie Bicentennial Man, Robin Williams plays the role of a robot, whose creator and subsequent caretakers develop ways to make him more human-like. Over the decades, and yes, centuries as inventors come and go modifying his mechanical person into something more nearly human, one of the things that becomes obvious to Williams is that the journey of life loses something as the people he loves and cares for die, while he goes on immortally, only to befriend a new generation which will also grow old and die. At the end of the movie, Williams himself discovers that he too desires death and sees it as the appropriate end of a journey which has only made sense as he has traveled with family and friends whom he loves and who love him in return.

God did not intend for the journey of life to be traveled in isolation. Immortality without friends and family to share it is a curse, which is why on All Saints Day we are reminded that those who have gone before us join the great cloud of witnesses the church calls the "communion of saints." My journey in life has been made possible because of family, friends, parishioners, professors, colleagues, students (current and former) and many others who have given my life purpose which has been caught up in the very character of God. My life is a gift and the journey is a gift, for I do not deserve the people who love me. They too are a gift.

I am suspicious of any theology of eternity that places so much emphasis on the bliss to be enjoyed after death, that the meaning and purpose of the journey of this life is underemphasized. And while the Christian belief in an eternal kingdom is something that should not be neglected either, the kind of eschatology that makes this earthly journey irrelevant and unimportant in favor of future glory is not biblical and to be rejected.

So, today, on this my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, I am reminded that my life is impossible apart from Carol, and our children, Alyssa, Courtney, Joshua, and Jason, and many others who have so enriched my life that I cannot help but enjoy the journey I am on this side of eternity. I am grateful for what is past, but I do not mourn over being unable to relive the great joys I cannot return to. I am enjoying the present moment and I anticipate the future as the journey continues. And when the journey of this life ends, I will have no complaints. How can I lament over receiving what I do not deserve?

Life is indeed a journey-- so enjoy it!


Ted M. Gossard said...

Congratulations, Allan!! And to you both!! And well said. I agree. And Deb and I will celebrate our 25th this year, Lord willing, as well, in October.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Ted... thanks for your wishes... You have also made my life enjoyable. Thank you for the gift of your friendship. May God bless you and Deb and may God continue to use you for his purposes as I have no doubt that he will.

pamjw said...

We too are celebrating 25 years of marriage today! Hope you've had a good a day as we have.

PamBG said...

It is indeed an interesting question - what would our life be like without death? It also presents some theological problems as Christians commonly think of our eternal fate as being one without death.

I've spent more time these past three weeks with the family of the dying than I ever have before. I'm thinking of three middle aged men. One who sobbed "She was the love of my life", one who said these very same words to me angrily (angry at death, I think, but ostensibly because I was not a Catholic Priest) and one man who said "It's just not sunk in at all."

I suspect that I don't take death as seriously as I should, but I won't know until I get there.

PamBG said...

I do wish you both a happy anniversary with the wish to cherish each other.

Didn't seem appropriate to say that on my previous post. Many blessings and may you have a long journey together.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Pam... thanks for your thoughts... your comments reveal the complexity of our situation as we place our hands in the God who journeys with us into the future. Thank God you are there to minister to those in great need.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Pamjw, happy anniversary! May God bless the two of you for his glory!

Country Parson said...

A most blessed anniversary indeed. May God's richest blessings continent be yours