As far as most things are concerned, my husband, Steve, and I are in perfect synchronicity. In fact, we share the same mind and heart on all the major issues of life such as our faith, finances and family, with very little need to ever have to work through differences of any great magnitude.
However, there are a few teensy, tiny things where we are completely out of step with one another. In fact, when it comes to some issues it's as though we're dancing to the beat of different drums--during the same song!
For example, I love to feel snugly cocooned each night under tightly tucked sheets. Steve, on the other hand, makes a point of always kicking out those same tightly tucked sheets so that his feet will feel free.
When it comes to food, Steve is a pure "meat and potatoes" man. At the other end of the spectrum, I'm "hot and spicy" all the way.
Even when it comes to gift giving we don't quite see eye to eye. I'm the type of person who hands the present over the second we walk through the door, whereas Steve prefers to wait until some less overwhelming moment during the visit.
Any married couple knows that all these little differences quite naturally crop up when two unique individuals choose to be united for life. An awareness of these differences usually begins fairly early in the relationship and continues on until "death do us part."
Even knowing this is the case, it still takes me a little by surprise when a point of difference suddenly makes itself known.
For me, the latest one appeared very recently when Steve and I found ourselves abandoned by our teenagers after church. Making the most of this unexpected time alone together, we decided to skip the usual toasted sandwiches at home and went to a nearby Bistro for a delicious lunch instead.
With our appetites more than satisfied, I was quite content to head for home. Steve, on the other hand, thought it would be the perfect time to take a drive out to Warragamba Dam--Sydney's major water supply.
Although the thought of going straight home held much greater appeal, I was quite willing to go along for the relatively short trip. After all, I knew what to expect. We'd get to the dam, get out of the car, take a quick look at the depleted water level, say "Hasn't the drought taken its toll!" and then get back into the car and come home.
Everything went exactly as I'd anticipated until we were driving away from Warragamba. That's when Steve uttered those immortal words: "Let's take the scenic route home."
With that, he headed the car down a side road which ultimately took us miles and miles out of our way.
My husband was in his element.
Right then I discovered that going for a drive to nowhere in particular is my husband's idea of an absolutely delightful way to spend an afternoon.
The concept totally boggled my mind. After all, as far as I'm concerned, driving anywhere is merely a means to an end. You follow a road because it goes from "Point A" to "Point B." If the scenery along the way happens to be beautiful, then that's a blessing. However, just getting into a car and spending a couple of hours going from "Point A" to "Point A" isn't my idea of fun at all.
So whose attitude is right?
Well, as is the case in most of these differences of opinion, it comes right down to personal preference--which is why I just sat back and let Steve enjoy his trip. The reality is that there are pros and cons for both points of view.
The same is true when it come to our journey on this road of life.
For the Christian, there's no question at all that we travel this road with a very specific destination always in mind. As we make our way we have the wonderful assurance and peace that comes from knowing that, in Christ, we will reach journey's end.
However, in the same way that I tend to become overly focused on reaching the end of a car trip, so too do some Christians become overly focused on reaching the "hereafter," instead of allowing themselves to enjoy the sheer delight and wonder of the journey.
Eternal life doesn't begin the minute we slip from this earthly life into our heavenly home. It begins the second we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
As Jesus Himself said: "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24 NIV)
When we ask Christ to take Lordship of our lives, our old journey of death comes to a complete halt as we change directions and begin traveling down a new road of life, into eternity with Him.
So as we make our way down this road with Christ, let's remember to take time to enjoy the beauty, wonder and adventure of traveling alongside the One who came to give us abundant life.
But what about those who are making their journey with much the same attitude that Steve has towards a Sunday drive? In other words, those men and women who are quite content to live their lives as though on some aimless, scenic route, with no destination in mind, and no road map for the journey.
What may be fine for a pleasant afternoon trip, is disastrous when it comes to traveling through life. Sadly, many have become ensnared by the philosophies of Eastern religion, with the seductive lie that there is no "Point B" on this journey--simply an endless cycle of returning to "Point A" and starting again.
With no destination in view, no direction to follow and no reason for the journey, it's no wonder that so many now live for the pleasures of the here and now without ever thinking about the eternal consequences of their actions.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews very simply removed any possibility of there being a second trip through life, let alone an endless cycle of journeys, when he stated that "man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27 NIV)
When it comes right down to it, we have one opportunity to travel this road of life. It's a gift from God and is meant to not only lead us to our heavenly reward, but also to fulfill the destiny, plan and purpose for which we were created.
So let's not sit at home and simply let life pass us by. Instead, with the Holy Spirit as our traveling companion and navigator, let's make the most of each and every precious day.
In fact, let's get out there on the road and just go for a drive!
Copyright Deborah Porter 11th July, 2003
Deborah Porter is Editor of FaithWriters' Magazine and Coordinator of the Writing Challenge. A freelance writer and editor (www.finessewriting.com.au) she also has her own website (www.breathfreshair.org). Deb is the writer and presenter of the new Cool Country Gospel Hour on Sydney's radio 2KA.