In my high school, senior quotes were a pretty big deal.
For those of you who aren’t aware, senior quotes are the one or two lines of “wisdom” that go under your picture in the yearbook. I’d decided early in my freshman year what mine would say:
“Education is what’s left when you forget everything you’ve learned in school.”
(And I just Googled it. The real quote is: “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” By Albert Einstein. Looks like I’d forgotten the quote about forgetting. So that seems about right.)
I was a fairly good girl in high school – so I suppose my quote was a little way to rebel.
See that Mrs. Brady? The Periodic Table? Gone forever!
And you, Mr. Noble? Had any Geometry stuck in the first place, its departure from my brain would have been almost visible! Bye-bye, some nonsense about angles and theorems!
Oh, yes. For three years I planned it.
Then, in the fall of my senior year, days before our quotes were due, I had an epiphany while watching an NFL pregame show with my parents. The words, “What a long strange trip it’s been.” flashed on the screen.
“What a long strange trip it’s been.”
Because these last 17 years? They’ve been a looooong, strange trip.
So on that Sunday, I scratched out what I was going to use, and scribbled down this new piece of genius.
The NFL gave no credit (that I caught) when they flashed it up on the screen, and the internet of 1990 was the beat up card catalog in our school library, so not only did it not dawn on me to research who came up with it, I’m not sure I’d have been able to find it anyway.
That little piece of information would have been helpful, because later on, I found out it was the title of an album by a 1970’s band, who was probably referring to a slightly different “trip” then I was.
And just like that, I went down in senior quote history as a groupie of a band I’d never even heard of. Mercy. All I wanted to do was forget Geometry. But when I discovered that, all I wanted to do was forget my senior quote.
Interestingly enough, the last 40 years, could only be described one way:
What a long strange trip it’s been.
(And not in a 1970’s band sort of way.)
I feel like the Israelites. Maybe you do too. Like I’ve been on a journey that should have only taken 11 days … and yet, it’s stretched out for 40 years.
That’s a long trip.
And somehow, despite imperfections and sin and all the ways I’m so not worthy, God is asking me to lay claim to the land. And truly, if it were doled out by whom was most deserving, I’d get a stamp-size parcel, if that.
And well, that’s strange. In my eyes anyway.
But in God’s world, it’s not. It’s just life. But it requires an immense amount of trust. It really is a long, strange trip.
For those of us who took the long way around, there is something a little unbelievable about year 40 (or insert your own year here). When God finally says, “It’s time.” and rather than taking yet another spin around the mountain, you turn north, it can be the scariest thing you’ve ever done.
Unknown territory always is, but especially when the path you’ve been on is so well-worn. Because even if it brings trouble, a well-known path can simply feel better. More safe.
Everywhere I turn right now, I’m confronted by this truth:
I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. —Joshua 1:3, NIV
Which tells me first I have to pick up my foot.
But right now? Well, I’m scared, and the idea of picking up my foot is almost too much. I just want to sit down and study the plan. Think about it a little more. Have a few good freak outs, but stand up and walk? No-no-no-no-no, not now. Maybe at year 41. That’ll be a good year. Or 51 …
But have you noticed, our schedule isn’t God’s schedule?
And there really is something curious about year 40.
So, what do you say? Anyone else on this long, strange trip feeling called to lay claim on some land?