When Will drops around to his parents’ house to take his mum to a hospital appointment he discovers the place is empty, and their Recreational Vehicle, The Leisure Seeker, is gone. Oops! Looks like mum and dad have decided to take off into the unknown. Ella and John have indeed taken off on an adventure, they are both unwell and this may be their last chance to go a-wandering. However, when they get a flat tyre they get more than they bargained for when a couple of dudes stop to ‘help them out’.
These few days are full of unexpected moments and high jinx for this couple. John, struggling with memory loss, keeps on wandering into his own little adventure, and Ella spends much of her time seeking him out. Mentally and physically. But, in spite of their problems, they do some real living. And each night they sit and watch slideshows of their friends and family. Back home son Will is going bananas, but their daughter is less perturbed.
There is something appealing about just getting up and heading off into the unknown. Rachel Joyce’s book, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, was about just that, a retired guy setting out to post a letter and just not stopping. Keeping walking. Harold Fry decides to visit the woman he was writing his letter to, on foot, which could take a while. It’s a remarkable and unlikely pilgrimage.
When Abraham and Sarah set out on their unlikely pilgrimage in Genesis chapter 12 they had no idea where the journey would take them. Along the way they encountered danger, as do Ellie and John, but they also encountered God. At a time when other folks worshipped gods made of stone and wood, Abe and Sarah follow a Voice, a Call, a God they cannot see. A God who made wood and stone. A God like no other. When the story begins we are told in Genesis 11 verse 30 that Sarah is unable to have children. This is key to their story, because the invitation to step out into the unknown is an offer of a new beginning for them, one of hope and ultimately fruitfulness. It’s not an easy journey and they make lots of wrong turns, but God keeps leading them back onto the right path. This is the beginning of our story too. A call from the invisible God, a God like no other. A call to follow him into, essentially, the unknown, and we will make lots of wrong turns. But the call is not to get it right, not to be perfect travellers, but to begin afresh each day and to see where He leads us. Others may not understand, but hang on in there, keep travelling.