Today I went to Caerphilly Castle. A couple at my church organised the trip, and I was invited to come along. Having lived in Cardiff for 5 years, I am acutely aware of how little I’ve seen of the city and the surrounding areas. So I leapt at the chance to visit the castle. The only other time I had been was almost a year previously, when the same couple organised a trip to see the fireworks there for Bonfire Night.
We ended up packed into two cars. I was in the second car, and Freda, our lovely driver, explained that she was going to take the long route, because it was the way she knew. I fully supported her in that decision, knowing that I would have got us lost pulling away from the church, let alone anywhere near Caerphilly.
We went over the hill behind Cardiff and back down towards Caerphilly, and as we entered into Caerphilly, we hit a road block. No diversions, no clue how to get to the castle from where we were. So Freda started driving along the way we came, before she pulled over and admitted she needed to ask for directions. So she hopped out of the car into the torrential rain, and asked a couple in a stationary car at a junction. They explained to her how to get to our destination.
So off we went, with a vague sense of direction. We followed the wonderful brown signs to the castle… where we hit another road block. So we turned around again, as I fielded a call from Freda’s husband who had already arrived and was wondering where we were. As we turned the car around this time, I mentioned the famous phrase “It’s not about the destination, it’s all about how you get there. That’s what matters.”
Well we eventually got there, but it set me to thinking about that phrase, what it means, and I had a go at interpreting it. In my own special way.
In this case, the journey was a bit rubbish. All because the council seemed to have forgotten to put up road diversion signs from the road block. It’s a little story in itself, but really, was the journey more important than the destination? Because Caerphilly Castle is pretty cool. Even when you are battling wind and rain.
Note to self: don’t take things too literally.
So if it’s not literal, just how metaphorical is it? Because undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh award in school… the journey really was more important than the destination. Am I still being too literal?
Is it the big journey of life? Oooo, I think I’m a bit closer now. 10 years ago, I thought life was easy (I have since realised it really, really isn’t). I had a plan: finish school, go to university, find a man at university, get married shortly after graduating and starting my perfect job. End of story, that’s my happily ever after, end of the journey because that right there is my destination. But that, if I was thinking literally, was like packing for California, but the reality was, I got on a plane to the Arctic Circle.
My journey was totally and utterly different, and that’s only so far. But the journey to this point has been thrilling. I’ve met the most amazing people, I have done some ridiculously cool things that I could barely have dreamed of 10 years ago.
So if this is now my journey, what is my destination? I’ve accepted that my journey has been pretty cool (of course there have been bumps along the way, I’ve blown a fair few tyres and the exhaust has dropped off (literally and metaphorically) but let’s focus on the positives this time) and I really hope it continues to be as awesome as it has been. But with my journey being so epically different to what I had planned, is my destination going to be so dramatically different too?
Or maybe, I was wrong the first time. That happy Amy, with the perfect career, perfect husband (who looks alarmingly like Michael Fassbender in my head), and perfect degree… was that my destination, even then? Or was that actually part of the journey. Naive Amy from 10 years ago… she thought marriage was easy. That once you tied the knot, that was it. But I’m pretty sure even Michael Fassbender is difficult to live with from time to time. Problems never go away. There’s always a bill to worry about, or your job gets stressful, or simply things don’t go the way you hoped. So married, career-driven Amy, would she be happy? Probably not entirely. It wouldn’t have been the happy ending I envisioned. (I have to tell myself that to get through the day!)
I have come to the realisation, that as a Christian, is the destination not heaven? So to suggest that the journey is more important than the destination seems totally inappropriate. I should of course enjoy the journey, but I will enjoy the journey with the destination in mind. It’s not a destination like any other, it’s not California or the Arctic Circle… it’s perfection. I believe that since I became a Christian, that the journey has got that much more enjoyable: because the destination is perfect.