A fortnight ago a group of us from church travelled by car to the URC Synod at Tottenham - via the M25. Well that was the plan. It took an hour and a half to get to Watford - a journey that might nbormally have taken just twenty minutes - and because of a major crash there the M25 shut down. We took a 'road less travelled', made a detour and arrived for the morning coffee an hour late - but received the warmest of welcomes.
A week later we were back on London's orbital motorway, this time during the Monday morning rush hour driving down to Sussex where I was taking a family funeral. It was a fraught and tense journey and we were glad to have factored in slow traffic because it took us twice as long as normal to get to Crawley.
It's been a similar tale told today by some of the participants attending the Order of Baptist Ministry Convocation here at the Quaker Conference Centre in Birmingham. One of our number was held up on the Aston Freeway for over two hours - joining us way past the start time - but once again, I hope, receiving the warmest of welcomes.
The picture of a journey is, maybe, an over used analogy for life - yet it surely resonates with us. For we all have hold ups and detours in life - our journeys, whether with family, in church or at work, rarely go to plan. Yet in the twists and turns we come upon unexpected joys just as much as unwelcome difficulties.
A few years ago I attended the saddest of funerals of a friend of mine. He was the father of two young daughters and at the funeral his wife told the congregation what she had told her girls. That their journey had taken an unexpected turn in the road - they had neither expected nor wanted it - but it was now the journey they were on.
Such grace and bravery made a deep impression upon us all.
So tomorrow, when we drive home from Birmingham back to Amersham, at rush hour, who knows what the motorway signs will be telling us.
Perhaps in all our journeying our constant prayer is that, whatever is before us, we might be people who are 'travelling hopefully'.