Most unexpectedly, whilst driving on a country trip, a voice from the back seat enquired most sincerely…’are we there yet?‘ It seemed so strange – the adult asking what seemed a child-like question. And clearly we were not there yet with still some way to go.
All our journeys are a little like that. We venture out upon the path, carrying our hopes and expectations. But we walk in darkness really. We don’t know the way. We must seek out light and guidance constantly.
We are always yearning for the being there – in that place of rest and solace; the place of promise and fulfillment. As St Augustine and others have remarked – our hearts restless till we find our God. If we are in familiar terrain for too long, we fear we maybe going nowhere or maybe we’re just bogged down. Maybe we are circling in passivity and no longer on the path.
This is the being there we seek -being present to the now of our life as we follow Jesus with the Holy Spirit as our guide. Ours is to remain and abide in simply being; a follower on the journey.
Gregory of Nyssa in the Life of Moses* tell us:”… someone who does not know the way cannot complete their journey safely in any other way than by following behind their guide. .. The one who follows will not turn aside from the right way if they always keeps the back of the leader in view.
For the one who moves to one side or brings themselves to face their guide assumes another direction for themselves than the one the guide shows them. Therefore, He says to the one who is led, ‘My face is not to be seen’ (Exod 33:23), that is “Do not face your guide.”
If the follower does so, their course will certainly be in the opposite direction, for good does not look good in the face but follows it….for what looks virtue in the face is evil.”
Discernment and companioning are gifts to each of us till we reach the end of our journey. We are simply following the way ahead to our own personal wholeness. I am touched by the concluding retort in “Everyone’s Way of the Cross” –
Christ speaks – “I told you at the start, my other self,
my life was not complete until I crowned it by my death.
Your ‘way’ is not complete unless you crown it by your life.”