Today I was taking a small trip down to the little shop that caters to patients at the hospital, and I found a bunch of silicone bracelets for sale. After laughing at the poorly made fake LIVESTRONG bracelets I found some others that were not so poorly made and were somewhat inspiring, among them a bunch of Latin ones. While my Latin is rather poor, I picked up the meaning of a few, among which were the Quo Vadis bracelets.
Quo Vadis is often translated as "Where are we headed?" while the actual meaning is more like "Where do you go?" or "Whither goest thou?"
Quo vadis? Whither goest thou? This question is dating back to the Apocrypha, when Peter fleeing Rome on the Via Appia met Jesus Christ. Peter asked the Lord, "Domine, quo vadis?" Lord, where are you going? Christ's answer was simple: "I go into Rome to be crucified." Peter then realised the wrongness of his ways (quite literally) and returned to Rome where he was soon crucified upside down.
The phrase is also commonly associated with John 16:5. 5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? (KJV)
Many times when I roam the corridors of the hospital or college, friends will stop me and ask me, "Where are you going?" If my destination isn't out of the way for them, they often offer to accompany me on my journey, be it short or long. They join me, walk with me, offering companionship on a path that leads me to my goal, even if it means a little detour for them. We are friends, we walk the road of life together, helping and entertaining each other. Sometimes when I have trouble with a threshold or some other not quite disabled friendly thing, they help me get over them. They help me to make them stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks.
Sometimes when I tell them that I'm planning to go to the pond or out to some other dangerous place, they stop me. They don't let me get into trouble, because they are my friends. They wouldn't let me stray from the path I am supposed to safely walk on. But sometimes, unfortunately, they would decide to go with me to dangerous areas, follow me, or even worse, ask me to go with them, and often, I'm foolish enough to follow.
Quo vadis? Whither goest thou? It is a question I ask myself many times when making decisions. It is a lot easier to remember to ask it and honestly answer when I am alone. I have to remember, however, that even when I am with someone else I am responsible for my own choices, for my own life. I can choose to follow or I can choose to stick to my itinerary. I draw the map of my life, I do the road plan, I pick the paths. And that is a hard job. Sometimes a road seems easy and paved, comfortable and wide, but I have to ask myself where I am heading and if the road will take me there.
Quo vadis? Whither goest thou? Moving to Utah when I was 18 I learnt early on that if I wanted to go to the Canyons to run and enjoy nature I couldn't take I-15, the nice, wide and paved road, because it wasn't taking me to the canyons. If I wanted to go to Provo I-15 was a good choice. If I wante dto go to the Canyons, it wasn't. Everything depended on where I wante dto be and what choices I made.
Choices and decisions are hard things to make. As I grow older I find it they are becoming harder. There is less and less guidance from loving parents and teachers and more and more responsibility. Nowadays I find that I am no longer just responsible for myself, but I often have to help my children make their own decisions. One of the things that influences them the most is them seeing my choices. They follow my example for now, so I have to be extra careful about where I go.
So every day I ask myself, "Quo vadis, Derek?" And I can only hope that the answer is home.