Odysseus and a government monitoring travel!

It seems a bit bizarre, but the government seem to want to know our travels this year (well, for one month anyway).  Sadly the month our household was chosen, was October, in which was my busiest month and no travel was to be reported.  I mean, when I say no travel, I did actually travel a lot.  But not according to their criteria of purely leisure travelling.

I thought I would make a blog post about it just so that it may be noted not only in government records, but also for all to see:

Therein lies the form that speaks of the tragic month where no travel didst occur.

Well, none from me anyway – just my two housemates!  But for every month that one does not travel, one dreams of travel, or one hankers back to the days of travelling.  Like an insatiable desire, the lust of travel isn’t helped by signing forms to say one does not do it.

The response of a Jesus-follower is not primarily that of Homer’s Odysseus, who was trying to sail past the most powerful, alluring songs of the Greek Sirens on the rocks nearby (the fate of many a sailor), by putting beeswax in his crew’s ears and binding himself to the mast so they couldn’t be lured:

“Past the island drove the dark-prowed ship, but the sirens seeing it began their sweet song. ‘Come hither, come hither, brave Odysseus,’ they sang. ‘Here stay thy black ship and listen to our song. No one hath ever passed this way in his ship till he hath heard from our lips the music that is sweet as honeycomb, and hath had joy of it, and gone on his way the wiser. All things are known to us. We will sing to thee of thy great fights and victories in Troyland. We shall sing of all the things that shall be hereafter. Come hither, come hither, Odysseus!’

So sweet and so full of magic were their voices, that when Odysseus had heard their song, and seen them smilingly beckoning to him from amongst the flowers, he tried to make his men unbind him.” (Odyssey XII)

The binding and beeswax does indeed work for Odysseus here, but I’m not sure it necessarily does so in real life when our hearts are captivated by something.  No, when my heart yearns to explore this world and to travel, or spends its unproductive hours mulling over what already was, I need a better song to be sung.  A more alluring one.  One that is so sweet, so clear, so all-consuming that all other songs sound a faint and distant clanging in comparison.

And that for me is the song of my maker.  The song of a Jesus who promises more in due time.  The song of one who knows that I am made for something more.  The song that woos me to taste of sweeter joys and find satisfaction in them.  Come, listen to that song!

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2 thoughts on “Odysseus and a government monitoring travel!

  1. Pingback: A theology of travel: summary so far | al-jabr

  2. Pingback: Facing a task unfinished: the road ahead | al-jabr

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