Light Out Wanderlust

I think it may be safely said that, for whatever reason, I have a fair amount of wanderlust. The word wanderlust means, rather simply: a strong desire to travel, and I do not think that such a thing could possibly be denied by me even if I wanted to, even if such a desire to travel was viewed as a highly blamable and wicked thing, on a part with other troublesome lusts that are far more often condemned. I have often found my own wanderlust to be a rather puzzling question. It is only in very recent or very distant generations where I tend to find this tendency for wanderlust, and given the love of travel that both of my parents had it is probably inevitable that I would have picked it up as I did.

Wanderlust is viewed as being a phenomenon that belongs to certain peoples as a sort of ethnic heritage. One hears of Celtic wanderlust or the phenomenon of the wandering Jew, as if there are some sort of peoples who are rootless wanderers in a world where most people are simply stay-at-home types. Yet it is seldom as cut and dried as that. One can be a wanderer in many sorts of ways. One can be always moving within a certain circumscribed bound as a semi-nomad or someone who engages in slash-and-burn agriculture or steppe herding or the more modern form of the semi-nomad who travels for work and fun but who has a home base. One can alternatively have a sense of wanderlust in the sense of escaping from difficulty of one form or another or seeking opportunity by striking out to new and unfamiliar lands. Yet all of these very different sorts of behavior could be considered as being a love of travel, and this broad meaning of what it would mean to travel and have a love of doing it cuts across ethnic lines as well as within the people of a given family, some of whom may appreciate some forms of travel and not others.

It can be safely said that everyone who is in the United States or indeed Oceania and the Americas is there because of wanderlust. Everyone in those places is a descendant of someone who wandered there for whatever reason from somewhere else, whether by their own choice or the decision of others. Whether one came in through the Bering land bridge or on a slave ship or in steerage, whether one sought religious or economic or political freedom, of whatever background one came from, one had to deal with various push or pull factors. Whatever differences we have, we all came from somewhere else. No one is a native here, truly, even if we have to look back a long way to where our ancestors traveled.

In many ways, a sense of wanderlust is compelled for many of us by the reality of our situations as pilgrims and strangers here on this earth. Four times in the New King James Bible, for example, believers are called pilgrims. We are said to be pilgrims and strangers, our lives without hope (1 Chronicles 29:15), those who died in the faith confessed that they were pilgrims and strangers waiting for the city of God (Hebrews 11:13), and Peter in his first epistle refers to his audience as pilgrims (1 Peter 1:1) and told as pilgrims and sojourners to abstain from fleshly lusts (1 Peter 2:11). If our status as pilgrims and strangers and sojourners virtually compels us to feel a sense of wanderlust about our travel from our earthly cities to the Jerusalem above where we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, we are to abstain from the fleshly lusts that would hinder us along our journey. Yet that wanderlust is not itself a fleshly lust, but rather a desire for the Kingdom of God that provides us a vision of a city we have yet to reach that serves as our home and that gives us the energy and motivation to keep moving towards that place.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, History, Musings and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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