This is the Day…Wednesday
October 21, 2020
Joy in the Journey
As a child of parents who had several brothers and sisters, I had a slew of first cousins. My Mom had four siblings and my Dad had three. All seven siblings married and had children. You can do the math from there.
Typically, I would not see my cousins very often. Some lived in Gastonia, but most were further away. Some lived in Stanly North Carolina and many were spread throughout South Carolina. My favorite cousins lived in Foxboro Massachusetts, near Boston. My Aunt Cindy (Mom’s sister) had married a traveling salesman from up north and they had lived there for many years. They had three children who were of a very similar age to me and my brothers.
Nearly every year, Uncle Frank and Aunt Cindy would come to North Carolina for a visit. We had so much fun together. Those were the days of the great cookouts and huge family water balloon fights. At bedtime there were eleven people in a two-bedroom house. It was the most chaotic fun I have ever had.
One year, when I was twelve years old, my Mom decided she wanted to go up north for a visit instead of Aunt Cindy coming south. My Dad could not go because of work and, the family certainly could not afford to fly. So, my Mom, one of my brothers and I took the train from Gastonia to Boston.
Early on Sunday morning, we boarded the train and took our seats for the journey. The first few hours were great fun. It was amazing to see the world from the perspective of a real moving train. The sound of the train on the tracks and the whistle blowing made for a wonderful and peaceful ride. I just sat there and watched the world go by. However, the peace and tranquility of the journey were about to change.
In Virginia, another family boarded the train. It was a mother with three small children. They were also heading for the Boston area and were seated directly behind us. The children appeared to be much younger than me but were very active. It only took a minute or two to realize that the peace of our journey had be replaced with absolute chaos.
The children were constantly screaming, crying, fighting, kicking the seat, or running up and down the aisle. Mom tried to play it cool but, I could tell the noise was taking a toll on her also. I remember when the train stopped in Trenton New Jersey, I asked my Mom if we could just get off the train and find another way. Although her nerves were frayed, Mom responded, “Sometimes you just have to make the best of things and find joy in the journey.”
As hard as that was to swallow her answer, I knew she was right. Her words were true not only for our train ride, but also in the journey through life. The Scriptures never promised that our journey would always be peaceful. Sometimes the road can be loud and bumpy. It can feel like there is nowhere to escape the chaos. But there is still joy.
As the Psalmist says, “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
I was able to find some quiet places on the train to enjoy my ride to Boston. Years later, I can look back on that train ride and smile. Because the joy was always there. If your journey is loud and bumpy right now, find yourself a quiet place. Just sit for a while in His presence. That is where you will find joy in the journey.