There is a certain unreality to traveling, especially when going to an unfamiliar destination. You may be packed, have your ticket in hand, your passport ready with visas, and yet still not have grasped that you are going somewhere and won't be home until the adventure is over. That is my state at this moment. Russia looms before me like a tentative dream waiting to be grasped. I've been reading up, thinking through the details, washing and packing clothes, and yet still can't quite envision that I will not be sleeping in my own bed tonight. It is a mixture of excitement and anxiety.
Don't get me wrong. I love traveling to new places. The adventure is stimulating and the busyness of getting ready fuels my longing for exploring. I have a list of places I have not been to yet--may I never complete that list! May it continue to grow as my horizons expand. But I do love the comfort of my own bed and familiar routines. I do enjoy my own back yard and the people who live near me. I do like to know that things I enjoy are at hand, and if I never traveled again, there would be plenty to keep me happily occupied.
I also know that while traveling is exciting and stimulating, it does not satisfy my deepest longings. I can see that journeys need destinations and most journeys end back where you started. You have been changed by the travel, but in a certain sense you are little closer to your goal than before you left.
Today, Epiphany, I am reminded of the three wise men, who traveled to Bethlehem. They came to worship and adore the newborn leader. They came from afar and returned to their distant homes. Their travels came to an end, but their journey through history continued. I suspect that their deepest longings were not satisfied by seeing this child, but only increased their desire to see his kingdom come.
Whether or not we ever leave our own home, we are all on a journey through life, and what we do with the time we are given determines a great deal about the outcome of our life. Like the wise men, we are all called to come. We can try to choose not to, or drag our feet the whole way in a sense of obligation, or we can run with all our might to meet our Maker. One thing is certain, our new home is ahead, and there is no return on this journey.