For the past few years, when the weather is nice my husband and I walk at our community walking trails. We have a few favorite trails, especially since we moved back home last year. We have three trails that we frequent whenever the weather is nice. We had gotten out of the habit for a while, and this week decided to get back to the trails.
However, he bought a new bicycle and really wanted to start working on building up his endurance. I am not a bicycle rider. I never learned as a child, and while a close friend taught me how; it is not something I feel I have mastered enough to want to do in public. I encouraged him to ride and I would walk the trail, it would give him more time to build up endurance.
The first night, I forgot my headset, so it was just me and my thoughts except when he would loop around me on his bicycle. I would pass other walkers with a friendly “hello” or nod of acknowledgement if they were with others. The rest of the time, it was just me, the sidewalk and nature around me.
I started thinking about the walk of life and how my walk that day mirrored it. At first, I was a little upset that my husband was able to go faster than I was. His mode of transportation was meant to take him farther faster. Sometimes in life, we start looking at where we think we should be. Usually farther along in a particular journey than we are, maybe in a spiritual sense or in our careers or a specific relationship. People often start looking at where others are and let envy set in. Or start to make excuses as to why the other person is farther along. Or excuses as to why they are in the spot they are and not where the other person is.
I remember when a close friend was walking a similar journey as me. She was a newer believer and her husband was not attending church with her. Our back stories were also similar, especially in regards to our husbands. Shortly after our journeys together started, her husband started attending church. He was really getting plugged in and serving God. I admit that really caused me pause because I had been walking the journey for about twelve years at that time. It was easy for me to start looking at how quickly things were happening for her, and compare it to the stalled progress I felt in my own life. It took a lot of soul searching and prayer to get me past that state of envy. During that time, I also realized that having my husband by my side at church was not an end all that I had built it up to be.As I lost sight of my husband on the walking trail, I started crossing paths with others. I realized that each of our journeys were different, even through we were on the same trail. Some people were on bicycles, others running, some strolling with a spouse or dog and others pushing a stroller. My favorite ws probably the little dog on a leash in a wagon being pushed by his owners. The man was saying something to the dog about not being very smart having tangled up his leash. I couldn’t help but tease as I walked by. Speaking to the dog, I asked, “Are you walking your people? You are a smart little guy riding in luxury?” The couple laughed as I walked on past.
We all have a journey to take. Every person on the trail had to start at one point and would eventually get off the trail. Some go farther than others, and others take different paths only to emerge later. Sometimes we really feel we are walking alone, but generally there are people on our trail. Somewho come along side us, in a moment, for a season, and still others if we’re lucky for a lifetime. Some people impact us in mighty ways, even though they may only cross our paths. Others leave a lasting impact even after their gone.
I also thought about the different stages in life for the people I passed. There was a man with an infant in a stroller, a small group of women, a few families with children of various ages. I passed an elderly couple, some middle aged women, some individual men, some teenagers, and even some preteens. We were all on the same trail, but each of us were at different stages in our journey. Some you could tell made trails a way of life, others were there to socialize, some trying to stay fit, others trying to say active. And since I remember parenting active kids, some trying to get out all the pinned up energy after days of rain. None of us were wrong in our motive, we were just there for different purposes given where we are in our stage of life.
It is easy to get on the comparison wheel in life, or to allow ourselves to make excuses for not being where we are. We have to pause and realize we are all walking in the journey of life. No one’s walk will be exactly the same as another. Some will look farther along, but they may have started earlier, be moving faster in that season of life, or have an advantage that got them a head start. We have to stop and be present in our moment. We have to be present in our journey, in the stage that we are in. If we want to go farther, then we take the steps needed to do it, not allow ourselves to make excuses as to why we don’t. We have to realize there is nothing wrong with where we are, and if we don’t want to stay there then we start working towards the next phase. It is also important to realize that regardless of where we are on the journey we are never completely alone in life.