'Come O Thou Traveler'JUNE 28, 2008
- Man on a mission
- (Thomas Biatek)
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What is the soundtrack to your weekend? When you want to get into a space that's all your own, what song do you keep going back to? We've been asking you that for a goodly time now, and we've gotten all kinds of stories set to many types of music.
Our latest story comes from Pastor Thomas Biatek, who listens to us in Shorewood, Minn. on KNOW radio. Biatek is a minister there, and the soundtrack to his weekend is a hymn called "Come O Thou Traveler."
Bill Radke: Tom, why is this hymn your weekend soundtrack?
Thomas Biatek: I fell in love with this hymn when I took a hike in Scotland. My church sang it as the last hymn before I took off from the trip. And it was my 40th birthday and I wanted to treat myself -- and I'm Scottish in heritage -- and thought I'd hike the West Highland [Way] trail and had a disastrous, disastrous time. But this was the song that I sang to myself as I hiked along.
Radke: What was the disaster?
Biatek: It was me being stupid, basically. I hiked the first part of it and I should have stopped in the town of Drymen but I thought I could keep going. And I kept hiking and got caught in a horrible storm climbing the mountain, and ran out of food and ran out of water and found myself utterly depressed and hurt and wet and soaked and cold. Feeling just lost, completely lost. The desperation in the song, talking about wrestling and fighting and worrying and wondering just absolutely fit that trip -- so as a perfect moment in an imperfect trip.
It was a struggle of not knowing where you're going and then despairing because you don't have any direction -- but then finding that, actually even when you are lost, it has meaning, and even when you are struggling that has meaning, that has purpose... That burst where the hymn makes its shift to understanding. We are always struggling with love and we are always struggling to find our place. That's the human connection and where we are, we are supposed to be doing.
How is this hymn connected to your weekend?
In ministry, you do a lot of working with people and you do a lot of leading groups and meeting with committees and you're always involved with people. So when I get time off and I have a weekend -- I don't work on Sundays -- but on my Saturdays, it's time for me to be solitary. So I take very long bike rides or I take long hikes. And I just find -- try to find -- some peace and quiet with myself, and allow all the struggles and all the worries and everything to work itself out in my mind. And by the end of the day, I feel alive and energized and ready to go back into it.
Tom, thank you so much for sharing your weekend soundtrack with us.
Oh, thank you very much. It's been a pleasure to do it.More stories from our Weekend Soundtrack series