Is it the Journey?

by MW Cook

I turned 28 yesterday. Weird.

Birthdays have always made me think of death. Morbid? Maybe. But what can I do? A year older means a year closer to dying.

Another thing that has always made me think of death is that popular phrase: “It’s not the destination, so much as the journey that’s important.” Or some variation on it. I can’t count how many movies and ads make that their theme. And I think it has a lot to do with death.

Since the western world killed religion (mostly) there has been a sort of angst about the human condition. With religion dead (or dying) the default idea is that death is the absolute end of all things. If man is the measure of all things, then when man is gone, there is nothing, right? So if there is nothing for us after death, we have made it our business (as a society) to find ways of avoiding the thought of death. And so this saying was born. Don’t worry about the fact that you’re really going nowhere, it says, just enjoy the trip. Which, to me, doesn’t make much sense. It’s kinda like telling someone on death row to enjoy the last mile. How can he?

I have heard a lot of Christians talk about how they don’t fear death and how they kinda long for death. I think these people must be much better folks than me, because I fear death. I know that perfect love casts out fear and all that, but I’m scared anyway. But the neat thing is, it’s not a debilitating fear. If I thought there was nothing on the other side, I imagine that my already fragile emotional life would crumble and burn. But I think there’s something waiting there for me. And that’s good. I like that.

It’s not just the journey, for me. It’s both.

Happy birthday to me.