Saturday, September 24, 2011

Good Trails

The Oklahoma Night Sky

God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding.He's a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere.He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones.  So now you can pick out what's true and fair, find all the good trails! ~ Proverbs 2: 6-9 MSG
If you visit here regularly it's no secret that I often use the idea of life as a journey and our choices as paths. It is easy to get off the main path and hop off down bunny trails that lead to dangerous and unhelpful places, and we all do it.  But the idea is to stay on the path God is leading us down, with full knowledge that there will be pain and brokenness along the way.  
I have a dear friend Jessica, and we enjoy journeying together.  Even though I'm older, we both support each other in a million ways, big and small.  One gift she gives me and Kel on a regular basis is babysitting so we can have a date night, something we couldn't afford often if we had to pay for both dinner and childcare.  Last night was a date night, and strolled through a salvage, went out to dinner and took walk in the park.  At the park we were able to go to an area of the park that we don't see too often because it's not stroller friendly.
After we got home and got the kids asleep we finished last night's Grey's Anatomy and surfed facebook on our phones.  A pretty lame finish to date night.  At one point I opened a window and turned off the AC and instantly I was swept away by the cool breeze that blew in.  So, surprising even myself, I grabbed a big blanket and headed outside.  I don't typically do this but I found the idea of star gazing irresistible.  I convinced Kel to join me and we laid there in our backyard, talking and marveling at the big dome of sky that loomed above.  
We realized that we hadn't given the stars much of a glance since our trip to Taos, NM last Labor Day.  It had been over a year since we really looked at the stars, together or individually.   A year without stars, I really hope I don't ever do that again.  For me there are few things in life that give perspective as quickly as taking in the night sky.  As we laid there our conversation slowly deepened to good stuff like heaven and how God gives Wisdom.  If we would have started another TV show instead of venturing outside we would have missed connecting like that.

Good trails in life are so much more fulfilling than easy trails, but they are almost always an uphill climb.  Yesterday was a day of uphill climbs.  We did our budget meeting and reigned in our spending, we watched what we ate during the day so that a dinner out wouldn't be as detrimental to our health, and we chose to take a walk instead of go to a movie.  We were tired at the end of the week so a lot of these choices weren't instantly appealing, but as I crawled into bed last night I was so glad we had hiked down the good trails.  

I don't want you to think I am bragging about star gazing or budgeting, I am not.  We have been drifting on our discipline lately, on where God is leading our family, so these choice really were painful and unappealing.  They were not what we wanted to do but I am finding over and over again, that the things in life worth having are cost me something.    

I hope to have more date nights under the stars soon, because I want to explore the trails we find as we lay there together realizing how small we are in comparison to all God created.  Just the concept of a light year blew my mind last night.  I was looking at something that was so far away, we measure the distance in the time it takes light to travel a year.  Light moves faster than my eyes or brain can even process.  Think about that.  That's how far away those stars are.  We are small but we are so significant, and well loved by our Father.  I hope that God's wisdom leads us all to delight in choosing a hard trail, even if we are only thankful after the fact.

Off the top of my head, here are some good trails that are hard but worth it:  
reconciling with a friend
serving your church or community
bringing a meal to someone who needs it
talking a walk instead of watching tv
getting swept up in a good book
sitting down and talking with your significant other to work toward a better relationship
building a fort with your kids
calling your grandma 
eating an apple instead of chips
putting down your phone and connecting over a meal
reading the bible instead of Facebook over your am coffee

You may think these are cliche, but they're good trails, God led paths that will lead to deep and more fulfilling life.  If you are tired and broken, they are especially good for you.  Healing always takes work, but we serve a God who is longing to support you as you hike.  

Maybe tonight I'll go out again to gaze up at the stars, maybe you will join me and we will support each other just by gazing together, even from different back yards.  

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