Life is a journey, so it is said, but I ask, where are we going? You can’t start a journey without a destination in mind.
Whenever I hear someone say life is a journey, I always think about the longest and tiring thirty hour journey I once took years ago.
The year was 2012 when I lost my younger sister who lived in Zambia, my country of Origin. I have lived in England since January 2001. Two days before her demise, my sister complained of just feeling abnormally tired. My elder sister who also lived in Zambia, but in a different town, advised her to go to the hospital to get a check up, but whatever happened, nobody knows, my sister died a day after she visited the hospital. I went into shock when I learned that my sister had died, given that we had a close relationship. I had to travel to Zambia urgently so I could be present at her funeral. Burial ceremonies in Zambia happen within three to four days after someone has passed on. So I had to book a flight that would get me there in time or on time for me to have been able to attend my little sister’s funeral. The reason for my journey was so I could go and see my late sister’s body for closure on my grieving. The only quickest flight I could get was the one that would get me to Zambia hours after my sister’s funeral, but I took it anyway. And why was I going anyway if my reason for going was not going to be met?
When I reflect on this long journey, I remember how confused and sad I felt after I received the bad news. I felt frustrated on and off. I felt that I should have been there for my sister and that thought made me feel so angry thinking that I had failed my sister. But I was just going through the grieving process. When I finally left home to embark on this journey. I could not keep still whenever I sat down. I kept fidgeting. I was anxious knowing that I would not be met by my sisters at the airport when I arrived.
My flight went via Amsterdam from London City Airport. I had to sleep over in Amsterdam at the airport where I arrived at 4pm. My next flight was the following day at 12 pm. I booked a room in one of the airport hotels. Before going to the room, I went to a restaurant to get myself something to drink as I didn’t feel like eating. I met a lady at the restaurant who was traveling to Tanzania and we just connected. We chatted away into the evening. Without even realising it, I had eaten a sumptuous meal which I ordered as we talked, thanks to my new friend. We parted company and I went to my small room. There was nothing else for me to do but thinking and praying. The more I thought, the more I came to terms with my loss. The more I prayed, the less fidgety I became. God in His mercy flooded my heart with peace which transcends all understanding. My thoughts became less muddled. I had to accept and face what had happened.
The following morning, I woke up feeling strengthened than I felt when I left home. I took a shower but I had no lotion to apply on my body because no liquids were allowed in ones hand luggage because of increased terrorist happenings. Thank God I had some vaseline for my lips so I used some of that to apply on my skin. I beat dryness. I had no cologne or antiperspirant which I can’t do without after showering. I don’t like smelling sweat. Now that my thoughts were less muddled, I had to think of something. I checked out of my hotel room at 9 am. I went around the hotel stores on an eye shopping spree. I got to a perfume store. I didn’t want to buy perfume because I already had some in my checked in luggage. The store attendant was a beautiful lady who appeared to be about my age, but one cannot be sure. She was very helpful and I could tell she was a good sales person. She gave me different fragrances to try as she sprayed the fragrances on small pieces of absorbent paper for me to smell. I was on a mission to get that fragrance on my body not on a piece of paper. I politely explained to her that those fragrances smell different on paper from what they actually smell like on someone’s skin. She bought my logic, so I was allowed to try the one I liked on my skin. I sprayed it on desired areas on my body. My sweat smell sorted! And I complimented her service but didn’t buy. No shame at all because what I used was a free sample. I said bye to her and left.
From Amsterdam, I had to change flights at Nairobi. I arrived in Zambia later that night. More time on my journey to pray and think and see things in a right perspective.
When I finally arrived, I joined a group of family members who were still gathered to mourn my sister. Mourning I did, but I still missed viewing her body for the last time. And that was final. I would never see her again, at least not on this side of life! But I had learned something on my journey that will always stay with me. What I became during my journey still encourages me today than my arriving where I was going. On my journey, I met the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles.
So if we say ‘Life is a journey’, the question should be; what are we learning on our journeys? Even though we miss what we travel for, do we still experience some good that we can focus more on than our need to arrive? Truth be told, no one can ever arrive and have it all complete, whatever that is or wherever that is. At least not on this side of life.
The flight I chose at that particular time was the best. However, I had delays, stop overs, I lacked some necessities, my emotions were all over to start with, I got tired, I didn’t have an appetite, yet I could not turn back. I continued on my journey though I knew I would miss what I journeyed for. Despite all this, I knew where I was going.
If life is a journey, do you know where you’re going? Are you going to meet what you journeyed for. Are you experiencing some delays or stop overs?
The good thing about life’s journeys, be it Spirit, Soul or Body is that you can change what’s not working. You can stop, recharge, replan, re route and be specific about where you’re going. The power is in your hand. Surround yourself with people that would help you deal with the little hurdles on your way. I had to get the store assistant to meet my need for a perfume to wear. I made a new friend who I chatted with and this made me to take my focus off my pain.
What nice ideas do you want to embrace but don’t know where to turn. Ask around, read to increase your personal capacity. Drop the luggages that would weigh you down. Just as my big luggage was checked in and I was only left with my hand bag to travel light, you can also check in your life’s baggage. For you to be able to travel light on your life’s journey, check in your anger, bitterness, un-forgiveness, laziness, procrastination, stress and all other unhealthy habits. You don’t want them to be weighing you down on your journey.
It is said that one should enjoy the journey because it’s during the journey that one’s character is developed. What matters is who we become during the journey because what you become is the person that is needed where you’re going. I arrived a person who was more stronger and able to support others. The journey made me.
Enjoy today, learn the lessons and take them with you. Let the journey make you.