The Promised Land

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“All my life they had made choices for me, and I had resented it. Now the choice was mine, and once it was made, I would have no right to blame anyone else for the consequences. Loss of that privilege, to blame others, unexpectedly stung.”
― Megan Whalen Turner, A Conspiracy of Kings

Growing up I hated my neighbourhood in London’s East End. Some Friday night’s after work, a friend and I would make our way to the main train terminal and review the destination board. We would randomly select a destination from the board and purchase our ticket. The train station we had selected would usually be in an isolated countryside, and upon arriving we would start to walk down the road enjoying the freedom of the open air. We usually slept in barns, or bus shelters in villages we passed, and made our way back home Sunday afternoon.

I emigrated from London, England when I was 21. My aunt was a “war bride”, she had met a Canadian soldier in London in 1945, they married and she returned with him to Montreal, Canada. She often came back to England to visit, and on one of these occasions I asked her if she was willing to sponsor me to Canada. She said she would be delighted and so off I went. Three years later I had married, moved from Quebec to Ontario and just got on with life the best I knew how,

In thinking of the Promised Land, I often wonder if our lives parallel the Israelites, living under the tyranny of the Egyptian pharos, until Moses set them free. After leaving Egypt, Moses led the Israelites, wandering in the wilderness for years, before they reached the Promised Land, As promised by God, Moses died before he entered the Promised Land.

We grow up living under the rules laid down by our parents and teachers, striving to be free and go our own way. When freedom finally comes at eighteen, we wander in the wilderness for years, trying to find our way. We worship new found idols while searching for a place that will bring us contentment and fulfilment. Many people do not reach their promised land. It’s not overly important, for the journey may have been as fruitful as Moses. After all , Moses set his people free and gave them laws to live by so they could enter the Promised Land.

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Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man.

Martin Luther King

Perhaps the Promised Land is to be found in the spiritual rather than the material realm. Searching for the meaning of God, for purpose in our lives, to be a better person.

Perhaps we should search for the Promised Land elsewhere in the universe. To unite as a planet we may need to shift our focus towards the stars……..and as we learned to build greater seaworthy ships in order to conquer the seas and discover other lands, so we need to engineer better space crafts to travel space and inhabit the universe.

Perhaps we have always lived in the Promised Land and not been aware of it. Always searching for something when we already have what we need.  ‘ The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’.

One of my favourite poems, is ‘ Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost. The poets words have a sense of purpose, of going forward towards our goal without distraction. Whether he is keeping promises made to himself or promises made to another, these promises must be kept. Here is the last verse of the poem.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I had a weird dream last night. I dreamed of crowds of people walking down a sidewalk beside a very wide road filled with noisy traffic. The frantic crowd……. bustling down the sidewalk…..began to slow…… to eventually form into a single line joining hands. They turned to face the road and the heavy traffic and still clasping hands started to run across. The traffic immediately disappeared and the host of people kept on running to reach the other side far in the distance. Perhaps all trying to reach the Promised Land. Together. Hand in hand.

 

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