WALKING A STRAIGHT PATH
(Trussville, AL USA)
"So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong." (Hebrews 12:12-13)
Thank goodness for this weekend. It surely couldn't have come at a more convenient time. My old creaky bones are aggressively talking to me every time I bend over. I never realized being a physical education teacher would be so taxing on the old body. I can't wait till my retirement. I will, however continue my exercise regimen. Half a sit-up, when I get up and the other half sit-up when I go to bed. Just a little jest here, to help make me forget my troubles.
I think I'll just skip church today. They won't miss me, with all the people that will be there. After all, He probably will understand that I just need a little exercise. Think I'll just do a little beachcombing. I might just find something of interest, if I don't make a mistake and pick up an old jelly fish. Last time this happened, I spent the better part of my vacation days in the hospital emergency room.
All of a sudden, appearing out of nowhere, and walking alongside me, was an outlandish looking character. Instead of being dressed in the customary beach garb, he was dressed head to foot in a long flowing multicolored robe, and wearing a matching turban. Then, before I had a chance to speak, he boldly spoke up to me.
I see you like walking, my child. May I join you in your walk?" the stranger asked.
"Sure, why not," I replied.
So away we went, walking down the sandy beach.
All of a sudden, this eccentric man stopped short in his tracks, looking down at my footprints in the sand. Before I had a chance to say a word, he began speaking to me in some sort of Old English dialog.
"Please take a look at your past walking pattern," he said.
Before I could answer or get a word in edgewise, he continued to speak in a rather weird dialog.
Mimicking an old-time preacher's speech, he went on, "What is the cheapest way to get from point A to point B? Why, walking, of course."
"And how would one walk in a straight line, getting from point A to point B? Not by looking to the right and left to make sure of not veering of the path. Not by looking down to the feet to make sure each footstep follows in same path, but by looking straight ahead, neither to the left or right, nor down at the footsteps. But one fixes one's eyes on a certain object and keeps the eyes trained on that particular object."
Now, my child, you have failed the first phase of my test. And much like my strange unfamiliar, foreign stammering, your feet have been doing likewise. Just look down at where we've been."
"Are those my foot prints? I guess I took my eyes off the prize, so to speak," I responded back in utter astonishment.
"Indeed they are, my son. It's simply life. Your life has been in a like manner of disarray," he concluded.
"Now, wait a minute. Just who are you? Are you an angel, or an ancient Bible character reincarnate? You can't be human. For you know too much about me," I exclaimed angrily.
Not answering my questions, he continued with his impromptu sermon.
"Walking this beach is kind of like your walk with God. You, like all other Christians, are called to walk a straight path before God. But how may this be accomplished? Not by focusing on the circumstances of your life. As I told you, you are to focus straight ahead on the object of God's promises, continuing always on the goal ahead of you, until you reach the prize."
"What a picture of what God wants to do for us! When we are not walking the straight path, when we seem to be failing because of the three evil "G's", guilt, grief, or grudges, our loving Creator, gives his good "G's", that of lifting us up with his grace and guiding us in our walk with Him."
"Wow, what a sermon! Thank you Sir, whoever you might be." I responded. "Sir, Sir, where did you go? I didn't get a chance to thank you for your insight into my life."
Looking around, I saw that he had disappeared, vanishing completely out of sight without any warning. Oh well, I certainly got the message. Guess I'll just mosey back home.
Subsequently, the scenery all of a sudden changed. I abruptly awoke out of the most unusual dream of my lifetime, my bed clothing soaked with sweat, wondering what I needed to do next. It's still the middle of the night. I know, I'll dig up a late night snack of warm milk and cookies, then, head off to bed, hopefully finishing my much needed sleep.
What happened after that was a modern-day mystery or miracle. I couldn't believe my eyes. My path was mysteriously laid out for me, There in my bedroom carpet was a well laid out pattern of footprint impressions leading to my bedside table. And lying on the table was an open Bible. It was not just any Bible, but Mom's old worn out, tattered family Bible.
Picking up this well-placed artifact, I happened to notice a certain Scripture passage had been highlighted in red. This alone not only brought back memories but tears to my eyes. For you see, Mom was notorious about marking her Bible . So I begin to read.
"Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." (Psalm 25:4-5)
Is this not amazing? Mom was speaking to me from her home in Glory Land. What did I do next, you may ask. One thing for sure, I never missed another church service, but not until the completion of my heavenly conversation on my knees.
Yes, I did make it to my retirement. I'm more active now than ever before, serving Mom's memory, and performing my daily church dedicated service, as a full time church lay leader in our little country "old time religion" church. Amen!
"I have two doctors, my left leg and my right. When body and mind are out of gear (and those twin parts of me live at such close quarters that the one always catches melancholy from the other) I know that I have only to call in my doctors and I shall be well again.” – George Macaulay Trevelyan, “Walking,” 1913.
One memory of the past. Several years ago, when I started my job from which I am now retired, I was sent to New York city for training. The office being several blocks away from my hotel room in Manhattan, I would place my sneakers in my briefcase and take a taxi to class in the morning, as to not arrive with clothing disarrayed and sweaty. Then, in the evening I would walk back to my hotel room.
What an experience! Believe me, if you didn't walk down the sidewalk at a fast pace with the swiftly-moving foot traffic, you would literally get run over by other pedestrians.
Now, sad to say, the bulk of my walking is observing the well-known mall walkers, while sitting in the mall enjoying my big double chocolate chip cookie and super sized soft drink.
“The best thing is to walk…Movement is the best cure for melancholy.” –Bruce Chatwin, Anatomy of Restlessness, 1996
Walking can surely mellow you out and is also a good remedy when you are about to blow your top, in anger. It's much better than simply counting to ten or taking a time out for a cooling off period.
"An Eskimo custom offers an angry person release by walking the emotion out of his or her system in a straight line across the landscape; the point at which the anger is conquered is marked with a stick, bearing witness to the strength or length of the rage.” -Lucy Lippard, Overlay, 1983
So both from a spiritual and a secular standpoint, simply take the advice of our blog character and always walk fixing your eyes on the target ahead.