Happiness and the Journey

All the good that you will do will not come from you but from the fact that you have allowed yourself, in the obedience of faith, to be used by God’s love. . . . The real hope then is not in something we think we can do but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see.

—Thomas Merton

I borrowed this quote from a devotional article in the Banner (online) by Peter Schuurman.  The article describes Peter’s life as a student, father and husband and finding happiness in all of the busyness of life, busyness that often does not seem to have anything in particular to do with what we think the journey is.

We have been busy these past days. After returning from the aborted walk on the Bruce trail I have been busy with various tasks every day. Today we cut, split and stacked nearly five cords of firewood. (How Canadian can you get?!  Thinking about winter’s cold, in August, with sweat soaking through your shirt!)  Last week a day was spent organizing and sweeping out the shed, another on the barn. I also read a 700 page novel. At the end of each day, I was happy with my accomplishments, but, were they on task or was I just dawdling beside the road?  I have pretty much let Hebrew slide for the past two weeks. Books have arrived that could be read in preparation for next semester. A curriculum needs to be developed for the “ministry” that I will be leading over the next months.

Schuurman argues that there needs to be happiness in life in the midst of the busyness. Being on task all the time is not necessarily  the happy way.  In fact, it may be the wrong way all together since being “on task” gives the impression that I know what the task is or should be.

Thus the Merton quote. God knows what the end is better than I do. Being on task, with my nose to the grindstone gives the impression that, somehow, I can pull myself up to the goal by my own bootstraps. The fact is, I likely don’t even know what the real goal is.

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