Editor’s note: As part of FMS’ Advent blog series, Nora McMahon, a recently-commissioned missioner, reflects on what it means to prayerfully journey through life in a world that values destinations. 

A journey is a funny thing, one I am quite sure that few people do nowadays. Yes, people take trips, travel, and go on adventures, but does anyone JOURNEY anymore? How many people do you know that can find their way to their destination solely by following the stars? How many people set out in one direction and say “I’ll know my destination when I find it, but no sooner”?

Not many.

Travelling is going to a predetermined area for a predetermined purpose. We travel to work, on vacation, to visit relatives, and even to explore. Journeying, though, as cliché as it may sound, has nothing to do with the destination. No one goes on a journey to find something other than themselves. 

“Journey” is an overused word nowadays, and, since reflecting on it, it’s popped up multiple times a day for me. That’s not inherently bad, but it is something that needs to be reflected on. So many people love to travel, love to explore, love to go. That’s wonderful, but that’s not a journey.

To Journey is a step at a time, not to anywhere, but in. 

When was the last time you went on a journey? Not traveled to work, had a vacation, experienced an adventure, but went on a journey? When was the last time you found your way by starlight, stopped in your tracks and smelled the passengers the crisp air picked up, or looked so deep inside yourself you were confused by what you saw? 

Because here’s the trick: we are all on a journey; you just have to make it one. 

When I was younger, I day-dreamed about places to go, things to do, and people to meet. As I got older, though, I learned to realize how shallow an opportunity it was to spend a day or two in a place. 

Blink, and you miss it. 

I can’t learn anything of a place when I haven’t had a chance to give someone directions in it; I can’t rest in a place when I haven’t felt bone-deep exhaustion in it; I can’t know someone until I’ve said “God bless you” to them. 

The past few months I’ve spent at the Casa have been the most wonderful of my life, but not because they were peaceful, tranquil, and expected. In fact, the best thing I learned from there was how to throw my expectations out the window. It was an amazing time because it was a journey. Every day I would be challenged to dive deeper into the understanding of who I am as a person and come up gasping for air. It was my first time on a Journey, and with my first step, I am quite sure the Journey will be a long one.