The Four Key Words of the Title
For the entry in this week’s journey, I am trying to focus on four words from the title:
1. “Journey”……where we are at the moment, and what we may be able to learn from the culture and the nature of each new place.
2. “Autumn”…… where we are, each of us, you and I, in the phases of our lives. (I see myself at the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn.)
3. “Notes”………where I am on whatever I am writing at the moment (at least if it is anything I think Meridian readers might find interesting) where the idea part of my head is presently.
4. “Seeker”…….where my heart is and what I am finding out about who I am and about what I want to be (particularly if it is something I think you might be looking for to)
It occurs that all four parts are really about travel…..
The first is about physical travel, which I always find awareness-expanding and perspective-enhancing (although not everyone looks at it like that, Thoreau once said “He who travels is a fool, because the whole world exists in his own back yard.”)
The second is about time travel, wherein we all pass through the seasons of life. Our youth and education is the Spring, the full-blooming, family raising, career building years are our Summer, the grandparenting, full maturity time is Autumn, and the winding down, (will it ever come) rich-memory and reflective years are Winter.
The third is about thought travel, where we pass from idea to idea, and hopefully grow in awareness and understanding….maybe even in wisdom.
The fourth is about character travel, as we evolve and become more and more of what we could be and should be….moving, hopefully, toward our fore-ordinations.
Travel of the body, travel of the years, travel of the mind, and travel of the spirit.
All four parts are also about perspective and awareness (which I boldly claimed last week comprise the essential difference between man and God.)
Travel through the world (whether in planes, computers, or books) opens us to how others live, and see, and perceive.
Travel through our lives (including all the disappointments and adversity as well as the good times) opens great new veins of awareness and perspective as we look at things from the eyes of youth, of young parents, of seasoned leaders, and of experienced observers.
Travel through our brains (or through the brains of others, by the magic of “crystal ball heads” (discussed in last week’s column below) helps us see as others see and understand what they have learned, often spawning new ideas that we can share in return.
Travel through the growth of our own character spins our clarity and vision higher and ever so gradually toward the total awareness and perspective of God
I am surprised at how much I like Australia. We’ve been here a couple of weeks now, speaking to audiences about parenting and life-balance, touring, watching the Open Tennis….and we are constantly delighted by the country and the people. It just consistently exceeds our expectations. Here are some of the reasons why:
–Its a nice combination of England and America, a nice midpoint, a good compromise. Aussies are not quite as reserved as the British, but not quite as obnoxious as some Americans. They are at least as friendly and open as Americans, but almost as articulate as Englishmen. Lost of homes and shops look English, but the countryside is open and U.S.-like. Unlike England, it has fantastic food, some of the best fresh seafood anywhere.
–It’s so uncrowded. With a landmass as big as the US and less than a tenth of our population, there are just not many people anywhere. Even big tourist attractions, at this, the height of summer, are lightly attended, easily accessible. No traffic jams to speak of. Easy to get around. (Melbourne has a fantastic public tram system.)
–Casualness. Everyone is comfortable, casual dress rules. And why not, it’s sunny and pleasant most of the time. The lifestyle is laid back but responsible.
–Fairly young and vibrant political system. The newly elected Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, is calling a national summit, assembling the 1,000 “best and brightest” from all different walks of life to meet and brainstorm about the ten areas that will determine the future of the country. They also have something that is just great, and that I tried to propose in the US, which is the requirement that new legislation and new national policy must attach a “family impact statement” that analyzes how the action will affect families.
–The suburban neighborhoods are great, lots of leafy parks, lots of recreation, fountains and drinking fountains, lots of grammar schools with cute kids (lots of red heads) in school uniforms.
–Beaches everywhere. Most of the people live in coastal cities, lots of ferries, lost of bridges, and all have endless beaches, surfing, jogging, cookouts, outdoor life reigns.
–Friendly, accommodating, humorous people that you can’t help but like. Curious too, they don’t even honk at people trying to remember to stay on the left side of the road.
–Variety, and getting lots of things in one location. Take the Huon valley for example, a place we went in Tasmania. There are fantastic, old-growth rain forests there, and the ocean with ships and yachts, and great mountains, and rolling-hill farms, all in the same place.
–They are also totally sports crazy, which appeals to me a little more than it does Linda. The first night we were here, she was flipping through TV channels and, to her dismay, could not find one that didn’t have sports on it…tennis, football (soccer), Aussie rules football, cricket, you name it. One guy told us that he went to a big game one time, in a packed stadium, and there was an empty seat next to him. He asked the guy on the other side of the empty seat if he knew whose it was. The other fellow said “well, its my wife’s seat, but she died.” “Oh,” said the first guy, “well couldn’t you have given the ticket to a relative or friend?” “No,” he replied, “they are all at the funeral.”