Yorkshire England, United Kingdom
There are few places of interest between whose location and the point of departure for it lies in so vast and deserted a wasteland that the journey affords no pleasant prospects and no points of interest to travellers, however intent they are to arrive at their destination. Even the almost trackless deserts of Southern Arizona, or the bare mountain fastnesses of Northern Utah, whilst stark and deserted when compared with the teeming cities and towns of modest size furnish pleasures and enjoyments to those who will avert their gaze from the distant goal and enjoy the journey.
When scaling the Alps or facing more extreme challenges in the Himalayas, the view from the top signals the end of the venture, and all that remains is to get back down. Yet the most dedicated climbers are those who understand that getting from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ is not the sole purpose of climbing. Each narrow ledge, or crevice, or chimney to be overcome, each beetling icy crag, or sheer face that must be mounted laboriously is an exciting part of their climb.
Finding or making purchase places which enable them to continue the journey are an integral part of the overall undertaking without which their arrival at the summit would be anti-climactic.
Explorers seeking the source of the River Nile considered the prospect of finding its spring of great importance, but that was not the sole purpose of their expedition any more than those who have journeyed to the North and South Poles regarded arriving at one particular geographical point the only worthwhile thing in the venture.
There was much to experience on the way, a great deal to see, and even more to learn, and only fools would miss the fruits of the journey and still consider it worthwhile.
Some years ago, Radio Luxembourg carried a programme, “People Are Funny,” in which one of the prizes was a trip around the world – blindfolded!
The ‘winner’ was not impressed with his award, even though he arrived at the great international destinations, but he had not enjoyed the sightless journey.
The Children of Israel did not enjoy the journey to the Promised Land because although they were excited to leave slavery and the chains of Egypt, their vision of the Divine Destination was frequently obscured by the hardships their pilgrimage held and they allowed these to blot out their glorious inheritance and wished to be back in Egypt or, at certain times, even die and so escape, not only the journey, but also their endowment at the hands of Almighty God.
Ancient Israelites under the guidance of Moses, alternated between a bitter sense of deprivation and a morose yearning for the life they had left behind; the same life that had been the cause of their cries for deliverance rising to the throne of God that had resulted in His calling Moses to be the prophet-saviour of the House of Israel to lead them out from the iron chains of false gods to a better life in the land that God gave to their father Abraham and his posterity.
Each person born into mortality is a traveller on a journey that will not end until death has claimed us as its own and after which the journey continues until each receives the reward to which he has risen through obedience to the laws and ordinance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to the degree of faithfulness shown in keeping sacred covenants.
A Jewish proverb declares, “To be bored is an insult to God who made us!” To be bored is to not be enjoying the journey. The bumper sticker that announces, “I’d rather be fishing,” identifies another who is not enjoying the journey.
Tennyson, characterised the inevitability of unhappy experiences as part of the weave of everyday life:
“Be still sad heart and cease repining
Behind each cloud is a silver lining.
Thy lot is the common lot of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.”
As the poet says, no one’s life is free from disappointment, hardship, or discouragement, for an easy path through mortality was not promised.
Life is a divine gift, an opportunity for each child of God to grow through experiences not available in any other place or by any other means. The scripture make known to us that the moment the opportunity for mortality, including the realisation of our divine destiny was shown us, we “shouted for joy.”
Yet, even in our exultation, we knew that life would have challenges, and that the growth that would come by the hands of vicissitude and advantage would be visited upon us through successfully making our journey, sometimes under the brilliance of heaven’s light, and sometimes in the gloom of “the Valley of the Shadow of Death.”
If, with eyes of faith, we can see now as we saw then, our mortality as a pilgrimage; a journey that, while it holds terrors and anxieties, also holds happiness and peacefulness, while maintaining our vision of the crown of glory to come in the eternal worlds, what should prevent us from placing all our trust in Him whose hands are firmly on the wheel and making the best of our time here and enjoying the journey?