When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities.
Jesus needed some alone time after learning of the execution of his cousin John. The only time he could claim was the time on the boat. As soon as he landed, he was once again surrounded by crowds.
I imagine Jesus found the time on the boat soothing to his grieving soul, enabling him to then be fully present with the crowds who were waiting for him when he came ashore. It is a reminder to me to not fail to be fully present in the transitions of life.
Our achievement/accomplishment oriented culture places greater emphasis on the destination than the process required to get there. We are constantly looking ahead to the next thing, but when we do this, we miss the gifts of being on the way.
Recently I observed a Luna moth on a UPS drop box as I was walking on a downtown sidewalk from my apartment to my car. Had I been lost in thought about my to-do list, I might have missed a moment of beauty. And this morning as I parked my car in a large parking lot to go to an appointment, I heard a hawk. I stopped, looking in the sky to see if I could see it. I found it perched in a pine tree that is growing at the edge of the lot. It was a gift to appreciate as I moved toward my destination.
It takes intentionality to be as present climbing the stairs, walking across a parking lot, riding an elevator or standing in line as we are when we first put our bare feet in the sand on a long awaited beach trip, or are eating lunch with a friend we haven’t seen in a while, or celebrating a milestone moment of life.
Seeking God’s presence in the moments between moments, in the spaces between thoughts, or in the transitions between events enriches all of life and disposes us to see God in ways we could miss if we are only focused on accomplishments or destinations. Much of Jesus’ ministry happened when he was on the way. I pray we can appreciate the “on the way” moments as much as the moments of arrival or accomplishment.