This morning I walked at a city park a few miles from home, wondering if this will become the new place for my daily hikes…
You may know that I have had a favorite place along my regular walking route, an open field in the hills where I can see the sunrise on the horizon. Each morning, I have paused there to thank God for the new day. Last October I was told that this place, my special sanctuary on the hill, was going to be turned into a recreational park in the coming year. Although I was disappointed, I was hopeful that some new opportunities and blessings would be found there, too (I shared my feelings about that news in my post, Changing Landscapes, October 7th).
But a few months ago, I came upon a large hole at the top of my path to the field. Speculating that it might become a restroom or concession stand, I simply walked around the hole each day to take photos and thank God, just as I had before.
Then one day, my neighbor friend Diana suggested that I should stay away from the area – the funding for the recreational park had been redirected, and the hole was going to be filled with contaminated soil that had been dug up around utility boxes and poles. And soon it was…
I was heartbroken, but I adapted my course to a nearby gravel path that would lead to the same field, and I began greeting the sun from a different viewpoint. I soon found new blessings from this side of the hill.
Until this week, when I found this in the middle of my favorite scene.
So, this morning I found myself at the city park.
This story could be a fitting metaphor for much of life, couldn’t it? We may be on a path that is comfortable and suitable for our needs, a path that brings us joy and peace, and then one day, the path no longer works well for us. Something about the path has changed – or maybe something about us has changed – and so we adjust the path just a bit to gain a new perspective from a different angle that once again blesses.
But what happens when every perspective, every viewpoint on that path no longer brings joy?
We may be tempted to find reasons to remain, but maybe these experiences are invitations for us to seek a completely new route. The route that we seek will not feel familiar, nor will it feel perfect, but it should be a route that, at the very least, will not add to our sadness or anxiety like a contaminated pit. Nor should the path impede or detract from our joy like a construction trailer and backhoes. Our new route may not be as easy or familiar, but perhaps we can find joy in the exploration, excitement in the unknowing, or new hope in every step we take.
We can certainly still hold gratitude for all of the previous paths we once walked. These paths have served us well, and often they have led to great serenity and peace. But there may come a time to leave those paths behind – and to find new ones that will lead us to greater joy, genuine life, and generous love.
What new path may be waiting for you?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NRSVUE)
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23, 25 (NRSVUE)
Bible verses found at ttps://www.biblegateway.com/
Photos by Karen