Originally published May 5, 2015, at “faith in community.” Republished with the author’s permission.

So, I have been called to a new congregation, in a new city, in a new state, some distance away from the city and state where I live and serve right now. I have a few weeks left in my current position, a handful of weeks of vacation (so to speak), and then I begin.

I begin to meet people and drive on roads I have never driven on before. I begin to write new sermons and ask new questions and meet a community and probably get lost.

In the meantime, I am here. I am calling moving companies and figuring out what will go first with me and what will go later. I am getting pictures and imagining apartments and trying to make decisions. I am making lists (fix car, get new glasses, close checking account).

And the lovely sentiment, “it’s the journey, not the destination” occurs to me, except that on this occasion I do not consider it lovely. I am not loving the journey.

I want to be there. I want to be there, with the furniture all moved in and the washer and dryer hooked up and all of my books on the shelves and the vase from Japan in the entry. I want to be there, meeting the children and reading them stories, going to the hospital, drinking sweet tea with a new friend, asking questions, finding a new road.

I want to be there. And, I want to be here. I want to be here, doing crossword puzzles and going to restaurants with my husband, seeing my friends one more time, having coffee with my mother, going up to the Falls with my dog, getting left-handed knitting help at the shop that I love best. I want to be here, making sure I notice the beauty that I have taken for granted, because I was always on the way somewhere.

Is this “journey, not the destination” thing in the Bible? Oh, I know, there are a lot of journeys in the Bible, including those 40 years in the wilderness, where the Israelites ate manna and quail and prepared to enter the promised land. But the promised land WAS the point, wasn’t it?  It was the destination, not the journey.

Or, maybe the wilderness was a destination too.

So, I breathe deeply (my new spiritual discipline) and try to be there, in the mess, in the lists and the packing and the coffee with friends, in the crossword puzzles and conversations: here, there and in between.

Diane Roth
Diane Roth is the associate pastor at Woodlake Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Richfield, Minn. Prior to her call to Woodlake, Diane served for four years as pastor to three congregations in rural South Dakota. She also has been a missionary and teacher in Japan. Find a link to Diane Roth’s blog, “faith in community,” at Lutheran Blogs.

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