Lessons on the Road

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Literature is full of “journey stories", from Canterbury Tales to Pilgrim’s Progress. On the road, your eyes open to new vistas, both beautiful and alarming. You meet all kinds of people, too. In Lazarillo de Tormes, a Spanish picaresque novel, a small boy becomes indentured to a blind beggar because his mother could no longer afford to feed him. Along the way, the beggar opens the boy’s eyes to all the evils of the world and teaches him to live by his wits with lies and trickery. Is this a lesson we should learn on our life’s journey and pass on to our children?

In contrast, in Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian (the main character) experiences many of the same kinds of hardships and defeats as did the boy Lazarillo. But the lessons drawn are so much different. Instead of becoming hardened and cynical, Christian becomes wise and presses on toward the Celestial City. He turns toward his quest and and learns to cope with difficulties. He learns strategies without stooping to evil himself. He gains perseverance.

What “journey story” are you telling with your life? Are you a “roadie” who's learning to trick people as a coping mechanism? Or are you learning to persevere in spite of flat tires, detours and lack of road signs? We can become bitter or better, as a favorite preacher once said. And on the road, we can teach younger people the same—not to be ignorant of evil but to “keep the faith,” to find ways to reaffirm our beliefs in spite of it all.

Keep on trekking!  

© Beryl Carpenter 2013 - 2018