Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Path

Imagine that you are in a forest. See the trees, smell the smells, and listen. What do you hear?

Now walk into that forest. There is no path. Simply start walking. Listen as the leaves and pine needles crunch underneath your feet. Smell the wet air and the pine sap from the trees. Keep walking. What is ahead of you? Do you even know?

Imagine that you have come upon a thick brush. There is nowhere to go but through it. You fight to get through it. It keeps fighting you back, not wanting to let you. You break away branches and step through small openings, all the while using your hands to part the ways and protect yourself.

You have scratches from the branches and leaves in your hair. You have made it through. It was tough. It was hard, but you found a way to get through it.

Now you are enjoying yourself. It was a brief struggle. One that you tackled. Your head is held high. You are relaxed. You are strolling along and notice a patch of flowers. They seem to be touched by the sunlight that is peeking through the canopy from above. You bend down to touch them, to smell them. They smell heavenly. Right now you are filled with joy at the small blessings that you are experiencing. The warm air, the soft breeze at your back, and the fragrance of the flowers lingering in your nose. You are thinking, "If only they were there to share this with me."

You decide to keep walking, and in your path are sticks and rocks. You are enjoying your walk so much that you barely notice them, and all of a sudden you are shaken from your peace.

You trip and just as you are about to stumble, you reach your hand out. Low and behold, something is there. You feel the support of a tree that keeps you from falling. That rough bark under your hands ends up being something that you can count on. You never much thought about it before, yet now it is there, to help you. You take a deep breath, thank the tree for its unexpected support.

You gather yourself and press on. Just a quick stumble. Nothing that you couldn't handle, and just as you get your groundings...boom. You fall into a hole. A deep, dark hole that seems impossible to get out of. How did you get there and how will you get out?

You are there for a while. It is tough to conquer. It wants to envelope you, take you into it and not let go. But you must. You must get out of that hole. You have friends and family waiting for you. People that need you. Things that must be done. Things that you said that you would do. You are not sure that you can do it on your own. But you will have to, there is no one there to help you out. You will have to find the strength and move on. You try to get a grip on something, but lose it. How about here...no.

Finally, now your foot has now found a support, if only you can hold onto something to pull yourself out of that hole. You search, dig, poke, prod. There has to be a place that fits your hand perfectly. You find it. Success. It seems to be rock solid, and you do it. Sweating, grunting, crying, and pulling. You pull yourself out.

Dirty, wet, sweaty and tired, you stop to asses the situation. You are out, down on your knees trying to ground yourself once again. Feeling the soil, the leaves. You have to know what you are standing on. You take a deep breath, brush yourself off, and move on.

You continue to walk without much happening. You see the leaves, smell the trees. This time you see the rock before you stumble. You catch the branch just before it comes back to hit you in the face.

You are strolling along, enjoying your walk through the woods, when a storm hits. It is loud, and it is pouring. Your clothes and your feet are sodden, and you can't seem to find shelter, but you press on. You are being pummeled by the raindrops and the leaves being knocked from the trees.

As you trudge through the wet leaves and the muddy terrain, you strain to remember that after a storm comes sunshine. It is only a matter of time. If only you can make it through. Just keep moving.

Finally, the storm breaks and the sun peaks through the trees. It warms your wet face, dripping from the storm. Its warmth seeps into your body, and you remember how it feels to be warmed from within. It seems to touch you deeply, down to your soul. You smile. You can see the beauty that still lingers from the storm. The sun reflecting off of the wet ferns. The worms wriggling to get back into the earth that feeds them.

You have a renewed spirit. You continue to walk and you start to think about what you have encountered during your walk through the forest. You question whether you should have even gone, for it has been hard. You think about what you may have missed out on while you were making that path through the woods. Maybe you should not have gone on your own. Maybe you wouldn't have fallen in that hole.

But then you think...I fell in that hole, but I pulled myself out. I tripped and almost fell, but had something to support me. I found beauty, when others may have found anger and pain.

And you realize all those people that you love, and that love you, are still there. They are waiting to hear about your adventure. Want to comfort you for feeling lost and scared and lonely.

And you realized that you have learned, you have created that path all by yourself. The path with sunshine and flowers, and the path with thick brush and rocks. That your path is not done. With each step, you continue down your path. With each step, you create a new situation, a new beginning, a chance at something new.

At times your path will merge with others, but it is still your path. Your path is wonderful. Enjoy all that your path has to offer. All of its surprises, its comforts, and its visitors. And remember that you decide which way your path may wind, and that way is always the right way.

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