Travel “Truisms”

When Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,” she took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah.

  • Genesis 38:13-14a

Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials.  But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.  When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field.  Balaam beat it to get it back on the road.
Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path through the vineyards, with walls on both sides.  When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it.  So he beat the donkey again.
Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left.  When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff.  Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day?  Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said.
Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn.  So he bowed low and fell facedown.
The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times?  I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.  The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times.  If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”

  • Numbers 22:21-33

Heraclitus said that we could never go home.  I wrote about that in A Missed High School Reunion.  The point being that things change, and you are entering a revised version of your old hometown.  I may or may not have already done that, but not for a high school reunion – just a quick visit with my sister.

If you read the Scriptures above, the first is Tamar along the road tricking Judah into sleeping with her.  The second Scripture is the classic story of a donkey speaking to his master, Balaam, again, along the roadside.  It seems that all roads lead to trouble.  For many of us, that is the case.

I heard that all roads lead to Rome.  That saying was sort of true in Europe since the Romans built a huge road system.  I have heard sermons on the subject, and I have written about Jesus coming at the perfect time.  Otherwise, crucifixion would not be the capital punishment used, where many Old Testament prophecies point.  The road system and the common Greek business language were also mentioned when speaking of the rapid spread of the Gospel, but to be honest, the Holy Spirit had a lot to do with that.

Before we left on our vacation, if indeed we have left or even returned, a nurse at dialysis let us know that “All roads lead to Wal Mart.”  I had to check and there are Wal Marts on four of the Hawaiian islands.  So, maybe she is right.

But do travel truisms get your goat?  They are always absolutes, but there are almost always exceptions.  Thus, they cannot be stated as an absolute.

When you come to Pittsburgh and you get “thirsty,” you can find a bar on every street corner.  No, you cannot.  Now you can find a bar or a pizza joint on every corner.  That is also wrong, but it is pretty close.  I have also heard that every road in Pittsburgh was designed by deer.  That is their excuse that the roads wind in every direction, without any real destination in mind.  But the logic is pretty good.  The native Americans followed the deer.  The settlers followed the trails made by the native Americans, making the roads wider for their carts.  George Washington came to Pittsburgh to widen and improve the “road,” later dubbed the National Highway (present day US 40, but not all the way west).  But I am certain that a few roads in Pittsburgh were built to connect the wandering trails.  Again, the absolute is shot in the foot.

Now the one that I am sure is false…  Okay, almost positively sure, is this one:  When you die, you have to change planes in Atlanta, whether your final destination is Heaven or Hell.

I have travelled overseas many times.  In travelling to India (through Europe), I have connected through JFK in New York, except for the time I went through Cincinnati, and the time I went through Dulles in Washington, DC.  Every time I went to China and South Korea, I connected through Chicago O’Hare, except for the time I went through San Francisco.  Oddly, my connections to Thailand were always through Los Angeles, but on one trip my luggage returned through San Francisco.  Atlanta may have the busiest hub in the world, but not the only one.

But I really do not think that we will have connecting flights when we go to Heaven.  We will simply be there.

I would suggest “Happy Travels, Happy Trails, whatever” to all your vacation plans, but since this post has been about exceptions to the rule, maybe I will leave that one alone.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.


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  1. Chicago’s O’Hare Field was once the busiest airport in the world, but it has been overtaken by other hubs, including Atlanta. I remember a poem we read in middle school about a road that began as a deer trail and became a major highway, with motorists complaining about the winding route. I wonder how many roads match that description. J.

    Liked by 1 person

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