I have been working on a map of Phoenix Park recently with my friend, who is a cartographer. I say ‘working with’, but she has done all the real work and I have simply walked around the park taking photos and verifying locations for her.

I found the initial map we used utterly confusing, as the paths on it seemed to bear no relation to the paths I was walking. It has taken a lot of maps (including Ordnance Survey maps, aerial photos from Google Maps and maps from Phoenix Park staff) to get it right and I have learned a little about the art of cartography in the process.

Where I was daunted and helpless (both in terms of expertise and software), Ruth was pragmatic and even quite excited. My map could be personalised to show the activities being held at the Summer Fun event. Did I want this symbol or that one? Did I want this picture of a marquee or that one? I had never realised before there was so much choice available to me!

When we hand out these maps at the event, I doubt people will give more than a cursory glance at them to find out what’s happening where. They will, at best, find them useful and maybe even pretty! They will not understand just how much work, how many trips to Phoenix Park, how many photographs I took, how many phone calls and emails it took to produce these maps (and if they did, they probably won’t care!)

Most of us fail to see behind-the-scenes stuff or even notice it exists. We’re only interested in the final product, the destination. But I believe the journey, the process, has much to each us. Life is, after all, a process, a journey, not a destination.

We are God’s workmanship (Eph 2:10). He is constantly refining us, changing us, transforming us. When He appears, we will be like Him (1 John 3:2) and it is this hope which keeps us going and shapes all we do in the meantime on our journey of life.