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8 October 05
When we are planning to travel we generally know the starting point and the destination, the likely times and duration. We make the precise choices of when and by what mode we are to travel, and barring mishaps, we can be reasonably sure that we will get to our destination. Some people seem to enjoy the journey as much, if not more, than the activities and pursuits undertaken at the destination, and if you are a tourist, it often seems that "to travel is to arrive"!
People often talk about the journey of life, and frequently draw analogies with physical travel. Many seem to focus on the experience as if they were mere spectators, an audience to some vast game. But I don't see life like that. We have no choice in the matter! We don't know when and where we will be born, and we certainly don't know the final destination, precise mode or duration. Life isn't something you can plan, but is certainly something you can influence and experience. We do have a choice over our actions and intentions!
It has always seemed to me that being a player, rather than a spectator, on life's journey was important. To see an opportunity to do good, invoke positive change, and to make the best possible contribution I could was always my objective. And in doing this it has seemed that helping others, being decisive, clear and honest, were reward enough.
An important part of our journey involves kinship, friendship and special people who we decide to devote out lives to. Our partners and children form a focal point, and a source of great energy and endeavour. For it is also in our gift to bring into this world a new generation, who can both learn from our successes and failures, and then go on to stand shoulders of prior success to the betterment of all.
And what finer act could we perform? Having created and nurtured new life, we then hand on the baton of experience and knowledge, with just a hint of guidance for the generations to come. But this does not mean we have to be relegated to the rank of spectator, we still have contributions of care, advice, and support to give, and this we do gladly! Moreover, we do it despite the set backs, disappointments, tragedies and disasters that inflict our species. Why? Because life's journey turns out to be the most exciting, uncertain, and precarious of all, and without the binding energy and care afforded by love we would all fail. And where does this love come from, where does it all start? It stems from the coming together of two people, a chance meeting, a matching of mind and body, that culminates in the strongest of partnerships, and the most exciting of journeys.