My first car was a Mustang II. It was an older car in sort of a faded mustard yellow (I am not at all sure why they would ever make that color!) It had off-white vinyl seats with yellow piping and tan carpet among its finer attributes. It was reliable for me and would take me back and forth to my summer job at the mall. But the radio was messed up. The tuner knob could only turn the little red needle a little way to the right. And when it comes to radio stations for a high school student all the “cool” stations are on the right. I could only pick up the talk radio and National Public Radio stations. When I got off work I would listen to the radio on the way home.
The music on NPR was not great in the evening, but it was still music. There was a lot of modern jazz and occasionally what I would refer to as “space jazz”. I am sure there is a specific name for it, but it was a very avant-garde style that sounded like it could have been on the soundtrack to a science fiction movie. To tell you the truth I didn’t like it, but I experienced it. I never would have chosen those stations, but the little red radio needle would not move in the direction I wanted. If it had – I would have listened to the songs I was familiar with and stayed right within my comfort zone. I never did develop a taste for that kind of music, but I know that I am a better person for having experienced it.
There are times in life where the journey ahead of us includes pathways that we might not choose, but we can still derive joy from the fact that we have a broader life experience because of them. Too often, we are led to think that the only happy journey is one where we have loved every moment along the way. But it seems to me that the real growth and meaning we encounter in life are those moments when we are forced outside our comfort zones. Those times when the choice we’d like to make is not available to us and we must go with something else.
Life is a journey and there will be plenty of time with our favorite choices. Embrace those moments when the needle only goes so far to the right. You may just find a new favorite station. Or perhaps, you’ll have more justification of why your favorite remains your favorite. Either way, you’ll discover that you have covered ground that you wouldn’t have chosen. God has created a universe with great diversity and variety – when you open yourself to it, you’ll discover that you have broader horizons. God did not create you to limit yourself!
Rev. Wendy Lambert, Senior Executive Pastor