Loosing our way on our journey

Losing our way on a journey can be an unnerving experience. We may have an appointment to keep, a place to be, an arrangement to make and we get lost on the way. Panic and fear can easily take over and paralyse us, preventing us from thinking clearly or making the necessary decisions to re-set our desired direction.

Getting lost can simply be a matter of careless inattention to directions. It can also be triggered by a sudden health episode or an accident which throws all our plans and confidence into disarray.

Losing our way can also be turned into a positive in which our imagination and creativity are called upon. A great sense of satisfaction can result when we re-establish our desired journey.

Losing our way in life can become a kind of habit which causes us to rely on other people to do our thinking and imagining for us. In this mode life becomes something that happens to us rather than a journey we live.

Just as it is challenging for each of us to maintain our life’s direction, it is equally so for families, communities and nations. It’s common for us to become distracted along the way by short term goals which may not always contribute to the central direction of our lives.It’s easy enough to spot this in others while at the same time being blind to the lack of sound direction in our own case.

When we look at our wider world, we see nations bumping into each other, sometimes managing to maintain respect and a certain peace and sometimes threatening the well-being of each other. Global economic, political and military competition often focus on goals driven by the need to control or manage each other. The need to have power rather than the need to serve means that our direction is so often off course and fickle. The world thus created, struggles to be one that ensures dignity and well-being.

In personal terms, short-term goals give us something to aim at, distract us and pre-occupy us and may satisfy us to a certain extent. On this personal level dignity and well-being can be sacrificed on the altar of competition, power-seeking and success, whatever we take that to mean.

“Only in God is my soul at rest” proclaims the Psalmist. In one simple statement we name the malaise which marks so much of our world and so much of our own lives. The same phrase names the truth that our hearts need to hear if our sense of direction is one that alone will most satisfy us.

While we hear the truth of this we still do need to deal with many intervening short-term matters. Many things require our attention and we do gain satisfaction from attending to them well.

However, without our central direction being clear and in focus, we become exhausted, irritable and lose heart. No project we complete will ever satisfy us adequately while we remain disconnected from the One for whom our hearts were made in the first place. In real terms we need God. God needs to underscore every project, every journey we take and every relationship we embrace. God’s Spirit it is who will breathe a gentle reminder for us in every situation of the things that matter the most.

Without God we flounder and lose our way. Without God we imagine that we are the beginning and end of everything and that the limits of our minds and imaginations are the limits of what is real and true. We place ourselves at the centre of life’s story and of course when we do that we find that our planet is not big enough to maintain so many egos jostling for space.

Our struggling environment attests to the truth of this.

“Only in God is my soul at rest”,

Thank you to Father Kevin Bates SM AU

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10 April 2021

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