by Sue Duby
We walk. A lot. Over 4,000 miles since landing in Northwest Arkansas. Chuck clocks every step. Our hunt for new trails is rivaled only by our search for great coffee shops!
Our morning walks never get old. We’ve got the routine down. Grab the coat, gloves and hat (at least in the winter!). Bend for a quick tie of those well-worn tennis shoes. Wait for Chuck’s coaching chant, “Let’s do this!”. Head off in a tandem rhythm of purpose and determination. Often landing on the cart path of a nearby golf course.
We know each bend in the creek, the lone crane who often greets us with his one-legged stance, the turtles who dive deep when we pass by their pond, flower beds bursting with color and our favorite maintenance worker who always smiles with affection when we wave. Most days, we’re alone. We chat, we stay quiet, we laugh, we ponder. Often cruising along in “our zone”, hardly aware of our surroundings.
We know it all so well. All great delight. . . except for the wet shoe saga. At one point, the cart path crosses a spillway of cascading creek water. We’ve learned tip-toeing techniques that usually allow for a sprint across without a soaking. However, any recent rainfall guarantees a cold, squishy finish to our journey.
One day last Spring, we found ourselves sighing, a few steps from the spillway, ready to soak our shoes yet again. For no apparent reason, we both happened to glance to the right and notice another walker. Strolling across nearby grass, stepping on to a small footbridge and crossing the creek to the other side. We turned to each other and jointly exclaimed, “What??!!! All this time… for over 2 years… why did we NEVER see that bridge?!!!”
We quickly followed. Across the grass, across the bridge, pausing on the other side of the creek, looking at our dry shoes and smiling together. Since that wake-up moment, we’ve carved a well-worn path to that bridge, with dry shoes every time!
The bridge wasn’t “new” in the sense of being freshly created. It’s been there for years, well worn by foot traffic. But it was “new” to us. Somehow, our eyes never saw it until that crazy day of awakening! One definition of “new” is just that… “already existing but seen, experienced, or acquired recently or now for the first time”.
Such a mystery. To have something there all the time and not see it. To struggle through a journey with obstacles and never realize there’s another way in clear view. To be stuck with a mind fretfully “looping”, without trusting a solution will make itself known by resting and waiting on Him. To be weighed by decisions needing to be made, forgetting He has a best path forward. To know that when we find ourselves feeling “stuck” in our ways, He’s faithful to continue to show us “better ways”. Often when we least expect. And always in His best timing.
May 2021 be a year of fresh vision. Of eyes that see what we missed before. Of His hand illuminating great surprises along the way. Of delight in discovering His “best paths” in each day. Of trusting that He is the God of the “new”… in all ways, in all things, forever.
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”
I Corinthians 2:9 (ESV)