It’s common in many cultures to compare life to a path, a road, a journey.

Editor's note: “The Spoken Word” is shared each Sunday during the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast. This will be given Jan. 24, 2016.

It’s common in many cultures to compare life to a path, a road, a journey. Anyone who has ever embarked on a long journey can see why it makes such a useful metaphor. It helps us to see life with purpose and direction, to feel that we are making progress and that we’re getting somewhere — and not just anywhere, but toward a specific destination we want to reach.

But even when we’re not really sure where our life is headed, seeing it as a journey can still yield helpful insights. Some days, we walk the road of life with the wind at our back, sunny skies overhead and a paved, well-marked path beneath us. Other days, we walk into the wind with dark skies above and the path covered with potholes, detours and roadblocks. The road of life is never entirely smooth or easy for any of us.

During those rough patches, it’s easy to become discouraged, especially when we look at others whose way seems much smoother. We hear stories of people who accomplish remarkable things and wonder how they got such an easy path. But the truth is, there is no fast lane, no shortcut to true happiness and peace. Every life path winds its way through sorrows and setbacks before cresting on the sunlit highlands of contentment and accomplishment. Every autobiography — written or unwritten — has its plot twists before reaching its “happily ever after.”

So instead of comparing our road to someone else’s, it may be more productive to see each other as fellow travelers along what ends up being pretty much the same road. After all, none of us makes it very far without help. Indeed, we were sent here not to compete with each other but to walk side by side — to help each other when the road gets steep and to enjoy the pleasant stretches together.

Be our days many or few, life is a long walk on a long road. And so we might as well walk it together. As we do, we will find that our experiences lifting, encouraging and supporting one another along the way are just as much a part of our “destination” as anything we expect to find at the end of the road.

Tuning in ...

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM,, KSL X-stream, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, BYU-TV International, CBS Radio Network, Dish Network, DirecTV, Sirius XM Radio (Channel 143), and The program is aired live at 9:30 a.m. MST on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at