Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Into the Dark

I'm not sure where the road of my life deviated from the one I had planned. Glancing over the map, I could pick a few places where I took roads that weren't the norm but over all, things have been pretty regular. Until Jerry died.

I suppose that's the deviation. One day you're a cheerful person, whistling along a sunny path. The next you've fallen into a dark, dank hole of unknown depths. You manage to land on a ledge but you have no idea where the bottom is and no way to climb back up. You'll have to shred your clothes just to make a rope and hope it reaches the bottom.

And there you are, naked, in the dark, hanging from the end of a rope. Lord knows how far you're going to have to fall. What do you do? What can you do? I mean hanging from the end of a rope is death.

Many years ago a woman in my church made a comment, half joking, half serious. She said, "When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." Easy to say when you're not the one on the rope.

Anyone who's skinned a cat on the playground or done hand over hand on the monkey bars, knows hanging on isn't a problem... for about three minutes. After that decisions have to be made. Even then you worried about how far you had to fall. It didn't look far but the impact on your feet is always kind of there, in your head. It just doesn't feel good.

So, sit on the Ledge and wither away or climb down that rope into deeper darkness and hope something doesn't eat you. 'Tis a quandary, to be sure.

Of course, sometimes you get pushed off the Ledge and end up doing a free fall. Those aren't fun either. I've known sky divers. They're just insane. Who jumps out of a perfectly good plane for fun? I've knows a few whose chutes didn't open when they wanted them too. That fall put them in the hospital. Mine may not be so critical in that respect. But it is still painful.

What's my point? I haven't lost sight of it. I've had some good days this week but during those brighter days, I've been depressed and feeling like I should turn around and go back. Impossible to go back, of course. All the bridges burned in the fires I left behind.

Maybe I should have taken a different path. I'd have totally missed that hole if I'd just taken a side road. Or I should have been watching the ground more carefully. Then I wouldn't have fallen in.

And never mind the delays to the journey. Those false starts, detours, and places where you have to stop and wait. Any change to the route would have resulted in a different outcome. Right? Well, maybe but I'm one of those who believe the end result can't really be avoided. I heard a psychology teacher once say that as we age we become who we are. I didn't like the comment then because it sounded as if we had no choice and at that point in my life, I wanted to be more than who I was. I was pretty happy with my life then, but I wanted more and to get there I had to be  more. These days I think the journey makes us who we become and who be become determines where we end up. The course is set for us.

Of course, if you've stuck around all this sounds like the mad ravings of a disillusioned woman. Maybe it is. I think I'm evaluating what I'm doing and who I am and how I got to this state. Paul said in Philippians 4:11 that he'd learned that in whatever state he was in to be content. Paul's state was not Florida. There wasn't sunshine and sandy beaches. He fell in a pretty dark hole and I suspect he ran out of rope long before he reached the bottom. His end was disastrous for him. And yet... he said he fought a good fight, kept the faith, and looked forward to a crown of righteousness.

If you look at it, that seems pretty simple. Stand tall, pull your shoulders back, fight your battles with honor and integrity, keep your faith, and keep going, even if it is into the dark.

Shameless plug follows:

Buy the new River City Wriers Anthology: Crossroads
Try it. I think you'll like it.

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