While driving our son to school the other day my husband asked me “Why are you going this way?” No matter the time of day, amount of traffic, or road conditions, my husband takes the same routes to get places. He drives the same route to bring our sons to school, same route to church, same to work. I try not to let it bug me, but sometimes it just does.
It’s kind of like a faith journey. The time we spend from the day we are born until the day we die is a journey. We don’t get to control all the circumstances that define our personal existence, but there is generally plenty of time in the days, weeks, months, and years to fill with thoughts and actions of our own choosing. Some people don’t really think about life as a faith journey, but I do. I can’t help it. It began being born and raised Lutheran, when I was offered these “saved by grace lenses” from which to see the world. In my case, I accepted the offer and kept the lenses, and since those humble beginnings I have bumped into, collided with, and side-swiped lots of other people on their own faith journeys. Sometimes the way other folks are headed bugs me (like the guy who told me there was no higher power that had anything to do with his existence; I told him I’d pray for him). Even my own path can get on my nerves. On the flip side of that, there are many more times when I’ve been invited to join other people on their journeys, or invited someone to join me on mine; when we’ve met at a crossroads, or in a resting place, and just decided to walk together or hang out for awhile.
One thing I take away from all of these encounters is there is no one right direction for a faith journey. It’s true that on these journeys we often make horrible choices. Painful, awful choices. But God loves us no matter where the journey takes us. He is patient and loving, softening our hearts with the Holy Spirit and waiting for us to “figure it out.” This is what makes God’s unconditional love for us such a gift. He’s even working in the heart of that guy who told me there was no “higher power.” We can ask questions and learn new things and try on another person’s “lenses,” and be loved right through it all. God can handle our doubts and our curiosities; our imaginations, and our wanderings. God’s love is like Thunder Mountain when I’m out for a walk on the trails around Dredge Lake. There are so many ways to go, but as long as I can see Thunder Mountain, I’m not lost.
By the way, when my husband asked me “Why are you going this way,” I answered “because it’s easier to take a left at the stop light this time of day.” He nodded in understanding, but it’s a safe bet in the future he will drive the way he always does. Even two life-long Lutherans in the same family can be on a different path. As long as there is plenty of love, I’ll try not to let it bug me.
• Becky Corson is a member of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. “Living & Growing” is a reccurring column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.