Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Travel Lessons and Easter

In their book, Just Visiting, George and Karen Grant write of how travel used to be considered an essential part of a person’s education. Traveling to other places gives you a broader perspective on the world than can be developed by staying in your hometown.

Living in Kentucky, my American experience is substantially different than that of a woman growing up in Detroit or someone living in Cody, Wyoming. As you travel across the United States, you discover it’s more than geography that changes, it’s lifestyles. In Kentucky, life pauses for March Madness. (If a Kentucky team is playing, life screeches to a halt.) In New Mexico and other western states, it’s not basketball that causes disruption, but rodeo season. Those growing up in the north might say the same about hockey. The preferred sport and life in general is different from state to state.

Traveling has more to teach us than just lifestyle variances. I spent a week in Magdalena, New Mexico during my summer missionary stint. In 1986, Magdalena was a dying town. Vacant buildings and decay were visible everywhere. Unemployment and other social stressors were the norm. Yet, these vacant buildings once were occupied by thriving businesses. The abandoned motel that served as a skateboard park for local teenagers once had its rooms and parking lots filled with travelers. The same was true of my visit to New Haven, Connecticut in the early 90s. The home of Yale University was boarded-up and economically depressed where it had once been a thriving city.

Travel to Europe and the lesson is more vivid. Travelers visit ruins of once powerful city states. Vienna, now a beautiful tourist stop, was a powerful political force – once. The sun never set on the British Empire – once. Rome was more than a city in Italy; it ruled the known world – once.

There’s a new country music song, “Shutting Detroit Down”. While its lyrics decry the bailout and bonuses of Wall Street, the title struck me as prophetic. Just because Detroit is the Motor City now doesn’t mean it always shall be.

Life is not static. “Panta rhei,” or “Everything flows,” said Greek philosopher Heraclitus. The river you step into today is not the same river you will step into tomorrow. Things change. How reluctant we are to admit this. We want to believe tomorrow will be like today, only better. Our sense of entitlement to constancy is illusory.

The other component of Heraclitus’ thought, however, was that the Logos was the fundamental order of all. He was on to something. The Logos or the Word is indeed fundamental. When constancy in this world cannot be found and flux and upheaval raise anxiety levels, it’s good to remember with the Apostle John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend [overcome] it.”

That’s the power of Easter, the hope and security of putting our trust in the One who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

1 comment:

RosieBoo said...

Nothing compares to the constancy of our Savior. Amen and amen!