Thursday, February 8, 2007

the desire to travel

I have this thing for travel shows. I don’t watch tv a whole lot, but when I do, if it’s not something sports related its almost guaranteed to be a travel show. I am fascinated by different places. There was this show on about southern France the other day. Every scene seemed to have some clichĂ© French thing, whether it be wine, art, or a street-side cafĂ©. I was particularly interested by the pace of life. In many of these towns, when there aren’t any tourists, the town looks ghost-like. From a person who grew up in a big city (dallas), slow paced life is something foreign to me. I wouldn’t really want to live all the time in this hyper-slow, ultra-relaxed atmosphere, because I would probably lose all sense of purpose and passion for existence, but these kinds of places are perfect for short, rejuvenating trips.

It’s almost like we were born with a desire to explore and go different places. As a kid, this came about through imagination. I would invent new places in my head all the time, and create their likeness from my living room couches and pillows. One time I imagined that my living room was the space station, and that the cardboard box I was sitting in was the most advanced space pod in the world. That seems like such a long time ago. Now I just wish for a weekend in a different place.

I think we’ve got something imbedded in us that tells us to go beyond where we are. And I don’t think this only applies to physical location. I think this has something to do with our hearts and souls as well. There is this unexplainable desire in my soul to move past where I’m at and to go someplace new. A lot of new music deals with this desire. Switchfoot’s song “meant to live” is a perfect metaphor for the desire to go beyond the normal. Somehow when things slow down and we have time to process what’s going on in our lives, we become aware of this desire for something more.

For me this is a spiritual journey. This desire that I have a hard time describing is born out of a desire to know God in a deeper way. I am deeply disturbed when I think about how little I relate to God. He knows my ins and outs and everything about me, but I barely ever struggle to get to know Him better.

I think this desire also extends to almost every area of our lives. At least at my age, being comfortable and content only gives temporary joy. It’s the struggle and unknown that drive my heart to experience a richer life. Whether its reading National Geographic so that I can know at least a little about the world around me, or getting out and running and throwing Frisbee, that desire to live a fuller life pervades every part of me.

And I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think that in at least some ways, every human being desires a fresher, fuller, richer life. The hard part is that we can choose how we respond to this desire. We can let worldly desires rule our hearts and guide us down the path of selfishness. It happens all the time, and I’ve traveled down that road so many times. There’s just nothing there but dead ends.

I’m learning that the place I’m yearning for exists in a Source outside myself. The only way I can be satisfied is by a deeper connection with God. And that, I believe, is what drives us all, whether we know it or not.