In 1977, the Benedictine Monks of Weston Priory in Weston, Vermont produced an album called “Spirit Alive”, which included a song called “Journeys Ended, Journeys Begun.” I have not heard that song for many years, but it still resonates with me. The chorus goes like this:
Journeys ended, journeys begun:
to go where we have never been,
to be beyond our past,
moments of lifting up,
rising in transparent light
to the fullness of God’s presence.
They say that life is a journey. But really it is many journeys, a series of endings and new beginnings. When Trueda and I joined our lives together in marriage, two individual journeys ended and a new one began, a journey together, a journey that has spanned thirty-seven years so far. To go where we have never been, to be beyond our past; to change, to grow, to keep on becoming what God created us to be.
Sometimes a journey ends with joy as it gives way to a new and wonderful journey that we could not possibly have imagined. For Trueda and me, our journey as a couple soon gave way to a richer and deeper journey as two became three and then four. But sometimes a journey ends with sadness, as when Joshua died. His journey with us ended; his new beginning is in a different place, a place we can reach only in faith and hope and love. And we were left to begin a new journey; a journey without him. My heart is still broken, although tempered somewhat by Rebecca’s marriage to Alex and the birth of their first child, Eli Joshua. Another new beginning. Moments of lifting up, transcending death.
Sometimes I have struggled with letting go of the old and embracing the new. When Joshua was born, I had to learn to share the love of my life with another person. I had to embrace a new journey. He turned out to be the joy of my life. I struggled again when Rebecca was born. She turned out to be the pride of my life. When Joshua died, I struggled to let him go. I am still struggling. Rising in transparent light to the fulness of God’s presence.
Life goes on. But it doesn’t just go on. It challenges us. It changes us. It transforms us. And we become more than we were before.