One of my favorite movies is the one by Tom Hanks, Castaway. What I love about this movie is the idea that we think we know how our life should go. We have a driving force behind our motivation to keep on going but it turns out that we are meant for a different path. A path even bigger and better than the one we were meant to be on, than one we can even imagine. Although he needed the original motivation to get him through what he was dealing with at the time, it was only for that point in his life. Time would show that he was meant for another path, one that was more fitting for where he was going next.
Recently, I gave a talk at my church on the changes in my life. I talk about the loss of my job, other changes that I have been dealing with in the past few years, as well as changes I can look forward to the future. Changes I was not originally happy with but I can look back now and see were meant to put me on a different course. A better course.
I also talk about the wooded area that I walk in on my lunch breaks and how after walking the same routes for years I found myself on a different trail and it opened my eyes to a alternate view of the world I had been seeing there.
I came upon a camp set up by some folks living in this park area. Seeing these artifacts of a life that I imagine no one intentionally set out on was heartbreaking. What path did they take or what changes happened to put them here? The camp has since been abandoned. I am now wondering where they are, what new path did they find?
That same wooded park that I walk in has been seeing a lot of erosion this winter as the river bank fights a constant battle with the raging waters of the Skykomish river. So much so that sections of the trail have fallen away and new trails are having to be built. New trails that will take me where I want to go.
How often when we are hiking out in the wilderness do we end up making a turn or standing somewhere that wasn’t part of the original plan and we find ourselves discovering something hidden from sight we didn’t know existed or seeing a view that takes our breath away? We may have set ourselves on one course, only to find ourselves on another.
I have to admit, veering has not always been the best for me (and have scars to prove it) but I can say some of my best days on the trail have been when I found myself off it and exploring “the road less traveled”. One I have created for myself with what has been given me.
In the one crazy, beautiful, messy life we are given we will never know what to expect. Sure, we know someone who was able to set their bearing early on and has kept to that course for their entire lives. Good for them. But for most of us we get to ride the river of life, filled with swells and dips, twists and turns. We make plans and have big dreams only to discover that life has other ideas for us. Scary ideas. Sometimes all we can do is put our lifejacket on, grip tightly to the oars and see where it takes us.
Feel the excitement?
You can watch my talk here: We Want To Keep The Blessing. I come on at 45:40 but feel free to watch the whole sermon which starts at 35:30.