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There's a Path for That

Big thought #2: As Amie and I have endeavored to be outside and moving with purpose more, I’ve been struck with the realization that there are roads, trails, and paths almost everywhere I might conceive to want to go.

Who knew that just a mile out of Jacksonville were miles and miles of developed trails; who knew that 15 miles off of Hwy 238 is an old abandoned logging road on the way to Squaw Lakes? (There’s also the better developed road to Squaw Lakes that we happened to miss in our Mini Cooper - and barely made it out!) Amazing that there’s a 7.5 mile trail to a granite knife ridge in Yosemite and one of the most stunning overlooks: Cloud’s Rest. There’s a trail, and cables, to the top of Half Dome.

Suffice it to say, there are roads, paths, trails to take you at least close to virtually anywhere you’d want to go.

This realization has done a couple of things for me. One, I’m super impressed and appreciative of those that came before me to blaze those trails. To do the hard work of cutting a path out of the wilderness. It’s staggeringly impressive. Someone, or some someones, worked their asses off to make a way to go somewhere, whether it’s a specific scenic destination or just a dirt path loop through the trees. And what’s more, it was often accomplished with a whole lot less knowledge, technology, and “helps” we moderns have.

Second, I’m comforted by the fact that, on a deeper level, the same holds true. The metaphysical paths we walk in life, we never really walk them completely alone. Someone’s gone before us. There’s a path, a trail, a way - through whatever it is we’re going through. One of the most insidious things about dealing with our pain is how alone it can make us feel. Pain is an incredibly personal and isolated thing. No one else really knows all the the different gears that align to try and squeeze the life out of our souls. At the beginning of this particular journey for me, I had a couple of people speak this truth into my life. That though I felt alone, I wasn’t. Others had gone before. Others will follow. It’s a dark path now, and it may get darker before it gets brighter. But it’s a path others have walked. You’re not alone. You’re really not alone.

And to quote Gandalf, “That’s a very encouraging thought.”

So, to wrap this wind-baggy thing up, may I encourage you to regularly find a way to unplug from your normal routine and get “out” more? Schedule it. Spontaneously choose it. If you’re not close to the woods like I am, find your own way to let your soul breathe and feed on more than what you’re “responsible to accomplish.” You’ll actually accomplish more if you do.‪#‎feedyoursoul‬

And may I also encourage you with the second big thought. I’m guessing that some of you reading this are going through some kind of really significant struggle - and I’m not talking about just being frustrated with traffic, or the weather, or overdue bills, or any of the other little niggling frustrations of life. I’m talking about the existential kind of pain. As in, pertaining to your existence: the how and why you exist. The kind of pain that, when you stop and think about it, seems to be sucking the very air out of your soul. It’s the loss, betrayal, failure, deep disappointment. To you I say, you’re not alone. There are well-worn paths through the dark woods. Others have gone before. Seek them learn, to grow, to find a way to keep moving forward, even if it’s an inch at a time.

next up: On Trailblazers & Bushwhackers...

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