Recently the family and I went on a long bike ride, long for us anyways. As a ride it was not that tiring nor difficult. Still, it required some coaching by the parents and patience on the part of Pop. Not that the kids were giving us a hard time, far from it, but the pace we could maintain was predictably slow and I had to keep a focus on the purpose on the day. It didn’t matter when we arrived at our destination, there was nothing there but some French fries (seriously Maniwaki had little to offer, nice as it was). The journey itself was the purpose. 

Sometimes I can catch myself thinking about destinations and missing the moment. I can focus too much on retirement and miss the fun today, I can focus too much on where I want our family or church to be and miss the special moment we are in, I certainly do at times focus on where I would like to be spiritually, emotionally, and creatively, and—you guessed it—miss the moment I am in. 

The life of faith takes time, today, and tomorrow, and the day after that. It is a strange element of the life of faith that it never really ends (even in death we believe it keeps going:). Still, when we read our bibles, pray, journal, fast or feast we are in process but without much intention about arriving. 

Cycling in the countryside with kids (on a well chosen route that doesn’t involve cars) is pure joy—especially the downhills—I long for the day when my prayer life feels like that. Maybe you do too.

I have often thought that you are a “real” runner or cyclist or musician or whatever when you learn to enjoy the process itself. The personal bests and excellent performances are great—they are the cherry on top—but when you are just happy to be doing hill repeats or scales you know you have arrived at something—though, of course, you are still moving and getting to the top of the hill just means heading back down and doing it all over again. Maybe we are like trains making progress with many stops along the way. 

Maybe a real spiritual life is one like that, one without as much concern for where we are going, or results (though we we have hope) and more about enjoying the process. I can say that I look forward to bible reading and to meditation times, I am learning about prayer but I wouldn’t say I look as forward to it. I guess that is a growing edge for me. 

What’s a growing edge for you in the life faith? What is something you wish you could enjoy doing? 

My advice: start doing it today, do it repeatedly in small chunks and one day you will find yourself enjoying the moment and seeing personal bests with little effort. If you are really lucky you might find yourself eating freezies outside a depaneur on a hot day with some tired but happy children. 

Photo by Ave Calvar Martinez on Pexels.com

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