I was walking alone one morning, in the quiet of the countryside, when I saw what appeared to be a path among the tall grasses. At first, I hardly took notice of it; it was so narrow, seemingly insignificant. But when I paused my steps to gaze about me, I contemplated that sliver in the meadow. I recognized that it wasn’t even a path… just a single footpath, really, that traversed across the field and then disappeared over a small hill.
My curiosity piqued and I began to follow it. Chasing it up the hillside, I observed that the pathway had become more noticeable, more sure and packed down. As if more people had passed this way. Pausing at the top of the knoll, I looked out across the landscape. The site was absolutely breathtaking. So full and lush was the land, bursting with life and promise. I smiled to myself as I began to follow the trail on a winding descent. The sun was shining brightly, and it felt so warm on my back. The breeze was light, subtle, refreshing. I picked some wildflowers and tucked them between the buttons of my shirt. Maybe someday I could plant some of those seeds. It was so glorious, so pleasant a moment, that I surprised myself by laughing out loud. I pressed on, the experience delightful, taking light dance-like steps through the meadow.
And then, much too suddenly, I was at the entrance of a forest. The path had led me straight to a wooded area. The journey ceased momentarily. The shaded woodland was mostly blanketed with leaves in the early spring. It took my eyes a moment to adjust to the faint darkness, but when they did I continued on. Gradually I recognized that the path through the wood had transformed into a trail that was wider than before. I noticed, too, that from other places in the woods, small walking paths seemed to join up here and there, merging with the wider trail I was now on.
After traveling for some time, it became apparent that I had been slowly ascending in the forest. When I turned to look back, I could see that a gradual incline had indeed happened. The forest didn’t seem nearly as dark and shadowy as when I first walked in and my senses began to notice things I’d neglected to see, hear, and smell earlier on the trail. While the sun’s rays were no longer on my back, the sun was still shining, filtering through the leaves up above and casting rays of beautiful light all around me. The sound of birds singing and branches creaking in the light breeze was like a song of serenity. Green plants poked up from underneath the thick layer of leaves on the forest floor. I bent and picked a few more flowers to add to my collection.
Turning back to the pathway, I continued to venture onward and upward. The growling of my stomach told me that it was lunchtime and my eyes darted back and forth, away from the pathway into the woods in hopes of finding some wild berries to satisfy my hunger. The trail unexpectedly took on a much sharper incline. Not wanting to wonder off and lose my way, I trudged forward. A steady weariness began to pull at me. Rather than the singing of birds, I began to hear a rumbling noise, a low rumbling and a rushing. The sound increased the higher I climbed, and became so thunderous that I began to feel it in my chest. The trees grew fewer and farther apart as the path became steeper. Rather than a smooth, flat walkway, the trail was now more like a deeply grooved trail, much narrower than before.
At the precipice I saw a rushing waterfall crashing down onto the sharp rocks below. From there, the path took such a drastic downward turn that I had to grab hold of nearby tree limbs and branches to steady my slipping feet. I stumbled and slid my way back down to the flat land again. My throat was parched. My eyes were stinging with the tears of fear, loneliness and uncertainty.
When I reached the forest floor, I realized that the answer to this deep thirst could be met by the water of the clear, cool stream. Kneeling down, I scooped up the ice cold liquid and drank deeply. Then I drank from it again. And again. Water had never tasted so good! The pounding of the waterfall, now off in the distance, had been replaced by the rushing of a smooth river. A soothing sound. And I could see that the pathway was leading me out of the woods.
I felt a renewed sense of energy as I began walking steadily onward into the field. While I was physically tired from this last portion of my journey, I knew that I had grown stronger in it. My pace had slowed a bit, but was still steady and true. As I left the woods, I noticed that the sun was now shining in my eyes for it was late afternoon. Soon the big fiery ball would be sinking below the horizon. I wondered how much further I had to go on this journey and just where this path was taking me.
But then I saw the answer. As the meadow lane turned and dipped slightly downward, so did the swift flowing water. Following it, I could see that in the distance the river met up with a vast sea. The sunlight sparkled on the water like diamonds, shimmering in all their glory. The breeze had picked up and it seemed to almost push me forward. Overwhelmed by the beauty, I stopped and sat down for the first time that day, right in the middle of the path.
I thought about the day. It had gone by so quickly, the course had varied greatly, but it had turned out so beautifully. As I sat reflecting, I heard a whisper. Not an audible whisper, nor the whisper of the wind, but a whisper in my heart. The voice of my Savior. “This path you’ve been on is a picture of your lifetime…”
(Stay tuned for the post NEXT WEEK when you’ll read what I heard from Him!)
In the meantime, ponder your own journey through life. What has it looked like? What type of terrain have you covered? How do you feel about the rough patches you’ve endured? The mountains you’ve climbed? The meadows you’ve merrily skipped through? The treacherous canyons you’ve fallen into?
Pause your steps and contemplate the path you’ve been travelling.
Till next time….