This is a hard time for you. I see it in your face. I heard it in your voice cracking as you shared about what recently arose for you. So I am writing this to you but also to anyone else who feels they are in a situation where they are frustrated, hurting, scared, angry, or feeling a host of other emotions.
Bear with me a moment as I take a little bit of a geek excursion. When I shared this photo with my kids, they each immediately went to the Lord of the Rings movies and spoke of how they were waiting for one of the Nazgul to jump out of the trees. If you are unfamiliar with this reference, the Nazgul were the henchmen of the big villain in the story and jumped out at the heroes at various points along the way including on a path much like this one…green, foggy, thick with overhead and surrounding trees.
It is a path that can be, at the same time, beautiful and comforting and also scary and foreboding. Our lives are like that. One moment where we are may feel settled and secure and then just a few moments later… everything has changed.
When I look at this photo and reflect back to when I received this image on a Friday morning hike, I remember looking ahead on the path and not knowing exactly how far still remained. The fog was thick that morning and the way wasn’t entirely clear even as the rising sun was starting to burn off the haze. I knew, however, that I needed to keep walking – I knew what was at the end of the path but not how much further remained. So I continued to walk.
The path at this point was just a touch uphill and each step took a bit more effort but it wasn’t far ahead until it began to level off and the path became easier. Yet it was still one step after the next. No shortcuts to the end – just one step, then another, then another.
My canine hiking companion, Scout, continued to trot by my side. She periodically stopped to take a sniff of something that caught her senses. Some points I stopped with her and some others I gave a gentle tug because I wanted to keep moving.
Eventually I came to the end of the path where I expected to arrive. Funny thing, though… when I looked back, the path behind me didn’t look like what I had seen on the way. It was the same path but it looked different as I gazed at where I had come from. The fog seemed to have lifted even more and the path didn’t feel quite as long as what it felt on the way. But it was that same path.
My friend, I am not walking the same exact path as you and cannot put myself in the place of what you are feeling. But I pray that this photo and this moment speaks to you of a path that has a destination ahead even if you don’t quite know what is between now and then. While it might feel like the Nazgul are going to hop out at some point (and they very well may), know that you do not travel alone. You have others who are there to walk alongside you…to support you, to care for you, to listen to you, to pray for you, to have your back Again, you do not travel alone.
As you keep taking each step, maybe us\ a few moments to look back. Don’t simply wait until you feel you have reached a destination. Look back and see how far you have come, the strength that you have, the fog that has lifted, and then turn back and keep walking.
Grace, Peace, Love, and Joy,