[a narrow path]
We were in a hilly forest celebrating our friend’s birthday. Having gone to retrieve stuff from the car, we needed to get back to where our friends were. Ravines were everywhere and to get to one place from another place required a lot of walking around.
However, Fedya and I had a different idea. I eyed the dried spring’s course.
“Let’s cut through the ravine,” I suggested, surprised at myself. Usually I prefer the tested paths, but I reckon I was feeling adventurous that day.
Fedya looked at the path I proposed. “You sure?”
“Nope, but should be fun. If anything, we’ll have a story to tell.”
He started stepping down the hill first. I was behind and by the time I got to the bottom of the ravine, he was around the corner.
“It’s a little swampy here, but not too bad,” he called out. I watched him, my more customary feeling of carefulness returning. He grabbed a tree branch that was laying on the ground and using it as a staff, walked on another branch that was like a bridge across the spring.
The problem was – the branch only extended halfway. The other half of the way was covered with leaves and a couple of young trees grew here and there.
“Perhaps we shouldn’t do it? When I was three I almost died when my cousin and I were sucked into a swamp.”
“Nah, it’s okay, just follow me,” Fedya replied confidently, throwing me the staff-like branch.
I caught it and cautiously stepped on the “bridge.” Walking on it was easy, but once I walked to the end of it, I stopped, not sure what to do next.
“See this patch over there? Step lightly on it and then jump to the patch near that tree.”
Stepping lightly obviously wasn’t my thing because the moment my foot connected with the ground, my sneaker sunk halfway into the red mud. I laughed because there was no real way back. Fedor was examining the next steps, trying to walk under the branches of a smaller bush that grew right in the middle of the spring.
“See how I walked there? Follow my steps.”
We did make it across – and the way indeed was shorter than the one we took before. Considering that we get along well, we laughed through the ordeal we subjected ourselves to and wished we made a video of this epic “shortcutting.” And while this path didn’t take less time than the long walking-around one, we enjoyed the adventure telling everyone that we’ve found another way. (For some reason, no one wanted to try the newfound path after looking at our shoes and jeans. Hmm…)
The reason I thought of that experience was something I’ve read in the book I got from BookSneeze – Christian Zombie Killers Handbook by Jeff Kinley. It was an imagined discussion with the apostle Paul.
YOU : But sometimes I feel like the path I’m walking on is uphill, rocky, and filled with potholes and land mines.
PAUL : You got that right. That’s why you have to keep your eyes on where the Lord is walking. Place your foot where he places his. Follow his lead. And stay close to him at all times. Remember, you have enemies who want to trip you up or blow you up. Plus, you have an inner nemesis who doesn’t want to be evicted.
Christian Zombie Killers Handbook, Chapter 11
I remember trying to follow Fedor’s footsteps.
Sometimes it was hard because I couldn’t see the footprint clearly in the swamp.
Sometimes it was hard because I wasn’t paying attention to how he stepped somewhere.
Sometimes it simply was hard because we were walking through a swamp, albeit a tiny one.
However, there were good parts.
Knowing that I won’t be able to walk the half-bridge by myself, he shared his staff with me.
Constantly encouraging me, he tried to give me a hand whenever it was possible.
Since we knew each other well, it was an adventure and laughter was our companion.
Christian life is just like that.
Sometimes following Christ is hard because we have to look for His footprints.
Sometimes following Christ is hard because we pay attention to everything BUT the way He leads us.
Sometimes it’s hard to follow Him because this world, like that swamp, wants to cover us with dirt and swallow us.
But there’s hope.
He became one of us so that we could use His example in our lives.
He always encourages us to stay true to the Way and helps us.
And finally when you know Him, even the problems seem less daunting – and you can always count for His sense of humor and His comfort.