Out of the Way –
One of the fathers I met with today told me about a hiking spot not far from where we live. I hadn’t heard of the trail or the waterfall it leads to until he said he hiked it this past weekend. “Getting there was easy, all downhill. Coming back, however, is a different story.” We’ve lived here for almost two years and I’m still discovering new places to go and sights to see.
Life is similar, the paths we walk are filled with experiences and surprises. Sometimes what we’re looking for is close but our journey towards it isn’t.
Similarly, the way of grace and wisdom isn’t straight either. There are seasons and times we must go out-of-the-way in order to find the fastest route. It doesn’t make sense but it’s the paradoxical trail we call life.
Our way may not be straight but if we trust the path it will lead us to where we need to go.
It’s not every day I get cussed out but Sunday was an exception to the rule.
There is a beautiful little town called Mount Gretna a few miles from our home in Pennsylvania. It’s complete with chalets, a pizzeria, a small lake and this time of year wonderful opportunities for leaf peeping.
Depending where you’re coming from it can also a shortcut to our house. Yesterday, I decided to take advantage of the foliage and the time-saving by making my way through this picturesque village. Leaving Mt. Gretna there is a steep hill. Because of its beauty and nature trails drivers often share the road with hikers, runners and bicyclists.
As I made my way up this highway there was a cyclist, complete with helmet, spandex, drink holder and riding gloves, struggling to make the climb. I slowed down waiting for the all clear and when I had my chance I began to pass him. I try to be extra careful when sharing the road with my fellow hikers and bikers knowing what it is to end up on the wrong side of a car and see your life flash before your eyes. Midway around a curve, and the biker, a truck approaching in the opposite direction, took me by surprise. Speeding up I made sure to not clip the biker or the oncoming vehicle.
Apparently, it was too close for Lance Armstrong‘s doppelgänger. He let loose some not-so-choice words that weren’t appropriate for childrens’ ears. My first response was to pull over and apologize. The difficulty was the road is narrow and the first place to stop was at the top. I wanted to tell him it wasn’t my intention to be so close and I too know the dangers of drivers not paying attention or not caring. I needed to explain but it was a long way and a long time before the opportunity would come and I’m not sure he’d want to hear what I had to say.
I was also ticked off! “Who did this guy think he was? It was a mistake, an accident! Come on and get over it Mister!” After a few mindful breaths I got over him not getting over it and realized misunderstandings happen and it would be better for both of us to move on with our day.
At times something we do or say gets taken the wrong way. People in our lives, both long-term and short-term, get crossed with us. Sometimes we know what went wrong and other times it goes south with no rhyme or reason. In spite of good intentions, often ripe with missed opportunities, both striving to the climb the road of life and something goes sideways.
Waiting for the right moment to clear the air, getting on the same page, seeking to make it right is always important. Knowing what to say, what not to say and how to say it are also keys to crucial conversations. However, there are also times when the best decision is to let it go. For most of us this isn’t easy. We don’t like the idea of someone being mad at us, disappointed in us or letting someone down.
To know the difference, when to move on and when to take it on, will save us heartache and frustration.
The way of life is steep, the climb can be difficult, let’s make sure we don’t carry more baggage than is needed.
navigating the curves,