Travel As Pivotal Discovery

Travel1Each day brings new discovery as one experiences travel in the context of the day. When I return to the same spot the next day, I am a different person and I will tend to see things differently.

On one of the first trips that I took into East Germany, when it was still a communist country, I served as host to a group that included teen-agers. One of the young men did not want to be on the trip, and was quite vocal about his opinion. His parents had made him go, and he had decided that he was not going to like it, no matter what.

On the third day of the trip, he and I were walking across a plaza in East Berlin. As we were walking, he looked up ahead and said, “Look how the light is hitting that building. It is beautiful and it will never look like this again.” And then he continued, “…and if we were standing on the other side of the building we wouldn’t get this perspective.If someone tried to move quickly to where we are right now, it would change before they got here.” Then he said with a tone of amazement, “That’s what this trip is about, isn’t it? We are getting unique and new perspectives.” Honestly, I almost cried. He was getting it.

Sometimes we travel through life and can miss most of it. I have received a new nickname from the Community of Lutheran Deacons because I didn’t recognize the names of music groups from the 80’s. They just couldn’t believe that I was not recognizing the names. So, my new nickname is “Captain Oblivious.” Truthfully, I didn’t pay much attention to the musical groups of the 80’s and I was oblivious. I just didn’t pay attention to those details.

Travel2When traveling, we sometimes will focus upon the vistas. We like to take pictures of vistas because of the stunning beauty, but we forget that the vista is made up of small details that have meaning. If we only look at the vista, we miss the beauty of the details.

So, when traveling, try to do things that will help you see the details of the day. Look at the beauty of individuals and not just crowds. When looking at a building and admiring its architecture, take time to notice the patterns contained within the wall and explore the beauty presented.

The slide show, entitled, “Patterns of Travel: A Closer Look At Japan.” displays a series of photos that I took on trips to Japan. I have the traditional vistas, but I wanted to look at the patterns that were present. There is a beauty in these photos that is missed if one looks only at the vista. There is a beauty in life when we learn to focus on details within the big picture.

This same principle applies to our spiritual journey. We can think in terms of the larger vista we call God, but we can also look at the specifics of God in our day. By looking at the specifics, we come to a closer realization of God’s presence. For example, I have a resident who each day calls for me to come to see her. When I am standing before her she wants me to bend over to get a bit closer. She then makes the sign of the cross on my forehead and kisses me on the check. She helps me see God as she gives blessing in the midst of her own context. What a blessing.


1) Where has God been present in this day?
2) Where have you seen the face of Christ throughout the day?
3) Where did God call you to serve this day?

Recent Items

  • The Loneliness Factor

    I was at a luncheon that was serving as a listening post for seniors to describe their sense of loneliness and isolation. I knew that the population invited to this luncheon was one that would probably have a higher sense of isolation, but, what I heard was much more intense than I expected. A man […]

  • Social Networks and Aging

    It is interesting that research is showing two demographics experiencing social isolation in such as way as to impact health: Young Adults (18-22) and Senior Adults (65+). I have worked with both populations over the past 50 years and I continue to be amazed at the similarity of the questions raised by both groups and […]

  • An Eye-Opening Awareness: One More Transition for this Guy

    I sat at a luncheon two weeks ago that opened my eyes to a reality that I knew was there, but as the discussion unfolded I began to realize how the discussion, about to take place, was going to expand my thinking. As I listened to the needs of the people with whom I shared […]


    When it comes to the human condition and a desire to change, we can become easily frustrated: we think that we want to change … but we really don’t. Paul expresses this contradiction well in Romans 7:15-24: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do […]

  • The Crisis of Loneliness

    THE NATIONAL CRISIS CALLED LONELINESS From “LINKED IN” “America is becoming Isolation Nation. Nearly half of respondents to a nationwide survey by health insurer Cigna say they always or sometimes feel alone, and 54% say they feel no one knows them well. Such loneliness is connected to increased risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death. The […]