I think there are two paths that each of us walk. I think we travel on these at the same time but are often unaware of one while we focus the greater part of our attention and effort on the other.
- We are all going about the daily busy-ness of our lives.
- At the very same moments, each one of us is traveling toward our end of life here on earth.
Americans now experience so much control over our lives (the Vikings aren’t going to come and plunder our village in the Spring) and we have such marvelous health and healthcare – we don’t have to face end-of-life issues as our ancestors once did (fearing the plague each time a stranger visited).
It is possible to become so caught up in the here and now, and our control over it, that we lose our perspective on the eternal. Even though you’ve heard that topic a hundred ways a hundred times before, it’s still worth thinking about. So that when you are sitting there in the middle of the disaster it’s possible to begin to see things finally as they really are. I’m reminded of the story of Lot. He faced a number of terrible tragedies.
While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” – Job 1:18-19
How does anyone move on after hearing this horrible news? But when it happens there’s no escape, no denial, no easy fix. It’s possible that something dreadful will happen in this lifetime to you or someone you love. During disasters, people start thinking about eternity. But why wait for the roof to fall in to awaken to these two paths you’re walking right now? Why not look for opportunities now, when you’re not in panic mode, to start putting this present life into a much larger perspective.
- None of us are in as much control as we and our bank account think we are.
- A walk with God that’s only (barely) a hobby will not carry anyone far when the worst news arrives.
- God’s concerns for us are usually different than our own self concerns – that can be alarming.
- When your life falls apart – for whatever reason – you will hear all sorts of religious explanations from well meaning loved ones (and strangers). Don’t let this common phenomenon change your own search for answers from God himself.
- Sometimes, maybe most of the time, just the presence of God is all we really need to take us down whatever road we’re forced to walk.
“Beware of trying to patch up a present refusal to walk in the light by recalling past experiences when you did walk in the light.” ―
John Muir (1838-1914) was one of America’s great naturalists. He co-founded the Sierra Club and was instrumental in helping to establish many of our national parks. I like this quote about how to walk through the world while remaining conscious of where you are really going and what’s happening all around you. Is this what we are now calling being mindful?
“I don’t like either the word [hike] or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not ‘hike!’ Do you know the origin of that word saunter? It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the middle ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre’, ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.” ―
What would it take for you to saunter through your day tomorrow, or the rest of your life?