Path, rut, trail . . . which way next?
You may recall my previous post about the Merciless Great Red Masticator (MGRM). We hired its owner to fell half our forest last summer, which was ravaged by bark beetles.
Talk about thrashing and crashing! Insult and chaos. A long-loved landscape is now one I barely recognize.
Like American politics.
Where is the path?
For 25 years, I’ve walked, jogged, skied, and snow-shoed the same narrow path through woods, past the pond, then across the meadow. A rotation of dogs accompanied me. Plus a host of thoughts. Songs. Questions. And always, prayers.
For 25 years I kept faith with those eight-or-so wild acres. My trail hardened to beaten earth, eventually sunk two inches deep. The path shaped itself to my sole. And soul.
The MGRM obliterated my path, left behind land scored with wheel ruts. Barren dirt and broken boughs. Holes I call sprains-in-waiting.
Amid the new ugliness, I lost my bearings. Lost heart. Gave up on my walk.
For similar reasons I quit following debates and political news. I lost hope. Felt helpless. Pictured America circling the drain, waning like past civilizations.
And then the rain
Last week’s rain kept me indoors. A few stirring posts (written by others) reminded me what a redemptive, endlessly inventive God watches over our broken world.
Behind the scenes and amid toxic rhetoric and upheaval, greed, deceit, and ruinous lies, God keeps working . . . in and through people.
Was I going to knuckle under to dismay? Or renew my hope?
Thanks to rain, a haze of tender green started sprouting out back. I can’t explain it, but the new grass has revealed sections of my former path, as if it’s still there, under the wreckage of all that has fallen, beckoning me through the shambles toward water, leading me toward wide skies and meadow.
Each day now, I align broken branches along sections I recognize. And Uncle Tanner, our dog, helps me tamp down the new stretches.
The land wants to thrive.
The rut that keeps on giving
My old prayer path is (partly) viable. And prayer still moves heaven, and earth—even the Everest of disillusionment. No matter who wins the elections.
Our God can work through anyone. (See Balaam and the ass: Numbers 22.)
We make a difference as we always have: one voice, one person, one act at a time. No matter who’s in the oval office. No matter what crises befall our nation.
My pastor, Eric Peterson, said that as believers in a world both suffused with God’s presence and ravaged by evil we’re called to embody “extreme love that speaks truth to terror.”
The path of faith we’ve signed up for may not be easy to find; it will be meaningful—no matter who runs roughshod over the land.
This is what the LORD says: Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jeremiah 6: 16 NIV)
Each day’s election, every day’s choice
It’s not just how I vote this week, but how I hope. And what I elect to do, and believe, each day, for one person or many, one truthful, loving, act at a time.
What path is calling you?