I was invited to a chalet that was surrounded by more beauty than the eye was expecting to take in. The leaves on the tress were already changing colour into the beautiful ranges of yellow and rust and reds. This is my most favourite part of the autumn season. My favourite colours come into full effect. When we arrived, it was dark and I was not expecting to walk the amounts of stairs that we had to descend, in order to get to the house that we would inhabit for a little while, which would allow us to be in the perfect spot to see the water surrounded by the natural canopy of colour. I wondered what am doing here? It was hard, scary, tiring and unexpected. It was uncomfortable and did not raise my expectations of enjoyment to come. My host spoke of how beautiful this place was. She knew what I didn’t. I couldn’t see it. I had to wait until the morning to see where I was. What I saw in the morning was breathtaking. Yet in order to take it all in and capture more of the beauty, to get closer to the water there were still so many more stairs to go down. It was a long trip down and a long journey up again. But it was worth it.
Do you ever wonder where it is that God is taking you? I have many times. Sometimes the journey has a climb that is so steep and I wonder if I will every make it to the top.
This experience made me think about the fact that I really don’t like to walk in grass or dirt or mud or wet grass. I don’t know how I came to have such an aversion to these things but anyone that knows me well, knows that I really go out of my way to find pavement or dry solid ground. Because of my dislike for certain things outdoors or certain environments, there is an assumption that I don’t like or appreciate the beauty to be found in nature. That could not be more far from the truth. I do enjoy hiking and seeing what God has done with creation. I do notice a lot as I take walks. I do enjoy taking walks. There are scenes of nature that truly do inspire me. What I have come to learn is that while there are aspects of nature that I do not like to be in, that it doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy or appreciate what nature has to offer.
Do you ever wonder where it is that God is taking you? I have many times. Sometimes the journey has a climb that is so steep and I wonder if I will every make it to the top. Sometimes the descent is just as steep and slippery and I hope that where I land will still be stable. Sometimes I have to walk through the very elements I don’t like to get to the places of beauty I love. Sometimes it feels like everything is falling and I will have nothing left- I am being left barren. Then I look up and around and beyond my immediate circumstance. I stop long enough to slow down and take note of what else is happening around me. I may not like everything I see or experience or I may not like all that God is making me walk through, but if I look for the good, I will enjoy what God is showing me and where he is taking me. In these moments God reminds me of some very important truths.
- When the climb is long, remember that there are landings placed in strategic places on purpose. We are meant to stop and rest. We are meant to look back and see how far we have come. We are meant to look ahead and gather our energy and plan how to move forward. Descending the stairs to the house, there were landings that I was able to stop on and catch my breath, re-adjust what I was carrying and look ahead to see how much further I had to go. I was able to start again refocussed on the door of the house realizing it was closer than I thought and certainly closer than when I began walking down the stairs!
- Even as things are falling, I am still standing. I am reminded of this as I move through the fall season. The leaves fall and yet the trees still remain. They are left apparently barren but they are rooted. There is work happening underneath. As I looked up into the air and saw empty trees, I also saw the rays of sun and the skies. I also saw the tip of the branches leading the way and directing my vision upward. I saw the strength in the trees and learned the lesson that keeping my eyes heavenward keeps me standing strong. Life is still happening and new life will come in the right time.
- There is still beauty being created out of what is difficult. Again, creation and nature tells this story. When the fall season comes and the cooler temperatures arrive, the leaves fall to the ground but they also change colour. Two things are happening at the same time. The hard and the beautiful coexist. The array of colour reminds us that there still remains beauty even though there is a season of bareness that is about to come.
God invites us to experience many blessings that we receive only if we continue past the uncomfortable, uncertain, places of dislike. I don’t have to like everything. I just have to be open to seeing that there is something to like in everything. I have to choose to make the most of every opportunity and to embrace the things I don’t like with an anticipation that there is more to come. There can be more than what I don’t like. There can be more of what I do like if I will patient, if I will shift my focus and perspective, if I will choose to trust God. Even in the hard places, there are things in the journey to enjoy, God makes sure of that.