|A gentle reminder – some of life’s most precious moments happen when you least expect it…
As previously referred to in another wrote (see post from March 2013 entitled “The Pathway) – I was traveling down a beautiful road, one that I thought I was destined to travel upon all the days of my life only to have been chased off the road but the fattest, ugliest, sexless looking of trolls. It was a private way and the disgusting troll had reminded me that the road belonged to her, pulled out her ownership papers, barked at me to be on my way off her property. Heartbroken – I had no other choice but to change route and cross over upon another path. Looking behind me at my beloved road one last time, I realized that the road was subservient to its troll and would always be. The pure natural and vibrant beauty of the road would remain unrecognized, unappreciated and neglected – its location taken for granted –all the days of its existence, which was a shame for its beauty was such that had I been able to remain upon it, I would have danced and frolicked and appreciated its natural beauty all the days of my life.
My head downcast, and being such, I did not see the different kind of beauty in the new path I’d taken. Different from whence I had come. Golden sunshine peaked down in between tree leaves; birds sang joyfully, honeysuckle pungent and thick filled the pathway with a natural wild sense of beauty. Yet, I missed it all for my gaze had gone to my feet – not in front of me, and my shoulders were slumped in defeat, I cared not where I roamed. Like a leave flitting about in the wind, I went mindlessly forward, all that had been vibrant and full of color now in my present state of mind, had become black and grey. I couldn’t venture on the road I longed for, so I no longer cared, the beauty had dissipated in the world around me.
Walking with downcast eyes and a heavy heart I did not see the tall oak of a man until I bumped right into what apparently was a set of trunk sized knees, it startled me (so lost was I in my own thoughts of sorrow). Like a startled deer poised for flight I froze in the headlights of this unexpected intruder. (Although truth be known, I suppose I was the intruder, since I was the stranger upon the path).
“Whoa…,” Said a strong steady voice. He stretched out a solid arm with large hands to keep me from toppling over.
I lifted my head up. This man was so tall I had to lean back and stretch my neck waaaaaaay up to see. Hazel eyes in a heart shaped face looked down at me with amusement. A red beard handsomely mapped his lower rectangular jaw. He looked like a combination of a woodcutter and a leprechaun gone giant, but there was a gentleness that exuded about him that looking upon him, made me feel unafraid.
“Why are you so downcast?” He questioned, raising a large pointer finger to lift up my chin so we could be eye to eye. “You should be looking ahead of you, not down.”
“I suppose I should,” I responded with a sigh, “yet I care not where I go. I am journeying wherever it is my feet choose to lead me…”
“Such a lovely face should not be wearing such a solemn look.” He stated. “Come, no doubt you are hungry and I am pleased to share my lunch with you along with some words of encouragement to make it all the more palpable.”
He led me along the pathway to a small flowing stream. This gentle giant of a man sat cross legged on the ground and encouraged me to do the same. Sighing, I obliged. He opened a lunchbox, which I had not noticed was beside him; broke off a piece of bread and a chunk of cheese and handed it to me. I was about to decline except for the dead giveaway sound of rumble from my stomach, so I decided to partake of his generosity.
“Tell me your story,” He said encouragingly, leaning forward to listen attentively. His face so close to mine I could count freckles that danced upon his nose. His red well groomed beard gave him an almost regal look, and the kindness in his eyes encouraged me to share my tale… About the unexpected beauty I had fallen upon, the temptation to proceed, which I gave into, the joy and love and completion I felt walking along what I had thought was my own little beautiful road… How I got chastised and commanded off by the horrible troll and found myself alone, discouraged and at a loss as to where to go. When I was finished, I rubbed my hands together to free them from the crumbs and looked up into the face of this gentle giant to see his reaction to my tale. How astonished was I when I saw eyes filled with tears and compassion.
He was quiet for a moment, this giant of a man. When I gazed up at him I saw a range of emotions cross his face and it seemed as though he was trying to gather his thoughts. Why should one feel so strongly for the journey of a stranger?
He was quiet and I was uncertain whether I should stand and leave or sit and stay. And then he spoke…
“In life you will encounter many various roads and pathways… I have found that the best ones are those that travel wide enough for two and go “both ways.” Even those that are not easy on your feet teach you endurance and perseverance; and though you may not realize at it the time, strengthen you for the journey ahead. The most important thing is not the beauty in the surroundings around you or the context of the road itself – but how you travelled it… Life is a journey down many roads. Think on this – what did you learn from this last road you took?”
I listened to his words and thought long and hard before I answered. “I learned of love and friendship. I learned that life is much better when shared. I learned that there are many more meanings to “unequally yoked” than what I had been originally taught.”
“So you see,” said he. “Although you no longer journey down that road (and not at your own choosing) you have gathered a lot of insightful treasures along the way. Hence, the roads that you travel end up coming together and forming a map called, “YOU.” Think now, what else did you learn?”
I tapped a forefinger to my lower lip as I recalled my journey through the road that I loved. “I learned more about myself. Humbleness, compassion, mercy… I learned forgiveness and most importantly of all that each person’s journey is their own and not to be judged by the observer.”
“Well then,” he exclaimed, “It seems to me that was a road worth traveling no matter its end… You are a better, wiser person for it. Or so it would seem to me.” He rose from his sitting position and once again loomed high above me. He reached down to extend a hand to me to help me up. I could not help but notice how small my hand was in his immense larger one.
“Who ARE you?” I couldn’t help but ask, curiosity taking over and then blushed with embarrassment at my straightforwardness, for surely it was not my business.
He grinned at me – such a boyish grin for a gentle giant and responded, “Just a traveler like yourself.” He gathered up the remainder of his lunch box, closed it shut and tucked it under his arm.
Looking around at my unfamiliar, yet beautiful surroundings – seeing the newness of the path for the first time, shyly I asked, “would you journey with me a while?”
He looked at my shy expression and laughed a deep laugh, his hazel eyes filled with amusement. “It seems as if we already are – for you stand upon the same path as I.”
“Very well, “I said my own laughter ringing with that of his. “Lead the way…” And, although he took up most of the pathway with his size and his girth – He did.
The moral of the story is to always try and find the beauty in whatever path life leads you. Abraham Lincoln once said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” The choice is ours, it may not be the pathway you imagined you would journey on – maybe it’s not the one you wanted or perhaps the choice has been taken out of your hands, not yours to make… It just might be better than anything you would have chosen for yourself…
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” (Psalms 3:5)