That phrase? "Wherever you go, there you are."
Since those long-ago days I have done a lot more reading and even more 'questing' in the ways of the spirit and have since realized that this seemingly inane phrase is actually ancient spiritual wisdom that tells a profound and inescapable truth.
For a lot of the years of my life I thought that if I changed my address or my job or my relationship (or my weight or hair color or style or clothes, etc., etc., etc.,) then somehow everything would magically get better or more interesting or successful. Not doing well in a class? Drop it or change schools. Job isn't going well, find another one. Marriage not working out? Just go, already!
But. Wherever you go, there you are.
It didn't matter how far I ran or how many times I twisted and turned trying to get away from something or someone or to something (or someone) else, wherever 'I' went, there 'I', ultimately, still was.
If I wanted something to change in my life I first had to change me. Transformation from the inside out, I began to understand, was the only true path to happiness. So I set about getting the kind of help and mentoring and advice and wise teaching that hopefully would help me to become the person I actually wanted to take along on the trip, wherever it was I was going. And, thank God, the teachers that came my way and the help I got made huge changes to my heart.
One example.... my husband and I had decided several years ago that our 'no divorce decrees, only death certificates' unofficial promise we made on our wedding day just wasn't working for us anymore and we decided that once the children were all graduated, we would 'move on' and call it finished. I tearfully shared this news with my work team at the time. When we made this decision, we had about 18 months of wait time before the kids were all out of the roost, and the idea of just spinning wheels for 18 months seemed like a total waste of a life, so I decided 'why not work on me' in the meantime.
Thank God. Because that made all the difference. Instead of divorcing at 24 years of marriage, we will be celebrating 29 years soon. When I announced to that same work group that we had just celebrated our 25th anniversary, the question was asked 'what did you do?' And I answered, softly, 'I changed my heart.'
Then my colleague restated his question 'No, Ruth, what did you DO for your anniversary?!' After laughing until the tears flowed - that being a classic Ruth moment - I let them know we went out for a lovely dinner.
So, transformation that resulted in a changed heart and a saved marriage. And two very happy people.
Then, recently I heard a sermon on a Latin phrase that put a new and interesting twist on the previous phrase that I had come to respect and repeat to others. This 'new' Latin phrase is:
at que non
The translation is, simply, 'Bidden or not Bidden, God is present'. And there I was with another epiphany, goosebumps-up-and-down-my-arm moment.
In the air that I breath. In the coming and going moments of every day and every night. In my joy and in my sorrow. In my victory and in my defeat. In my proud moments as well as every one of my shameful moments. In my private time and when I am surrounded by people - friendly or not. Wherever I go, there YOU are!
And if I can't go anywhere without You, then You can't go anywhere without me.
We are stuck with each other.
My own, personal God.
My One, personal God.
And that is the ultimate transformation!