Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” Ephesians 5:16
There are certain times you just need to watch your step. For example, there are at least two things to watch out for when you are walking through a cow pasture. First, you need to make sure that it is fact a cow pasture and not a bull pasture. If it is a bull pasture you need to head to the nearest fence…immediately. Bulls are not cows, and most of the time the reason they call them bulls is because they are bullies. The second thing you need to watch out for when walking through a cow pasture are cow patties. You will just have to trust me on this one.
There are lots of other times and places you need to watch your step and one that I recently experienced was while hiking down by Bell Smith Springs. My wife Judy and I have grown quite fond of hiking. It is great exercise, and it is a great opportunity to get out and enjoy nature. So, last week we headed down to Bell Smith Springs to take on the Sentry Ridge Trail. It is a three-mile loop trail that follows a ridge (no surprise there) and looks down on a small canyon with a creek. The problem is a pleasure. It is just beautiful. There is so much to see, you want to look and look. But that is also the problem.
You see, the trail, in more than several places, is quite rocky. There are places when the trail is “paved” with large slabs of native stone. In other places, though, it is as if someone had come along and strewn stones everywhere. While they are mostly firmly embedded in the ground, they are still uneven. The bottom line is watch where you are stepping, or one of three things is bound to happen. One, you will twist your ankle. Two, you will fall and bust something you don’t want busted. Three, you will find yourself on the way down a long wooded cliff or bluff.
Now for the pleasurable problem. So, as we were hiking one of us believes in the destination. In other words, the goal is to make it, to do it, to get it done. The other one is in it for the journey. They actually believe the journey is primary to the destination. Can you guess who is who in this scenario? Yup. I, as the man, the conqueror, believes that the primary purpose of this trip is to finish and put another notch in my “hiking” belt. Judy, as the lady of the trail, wants to stop and take pictures of the trees—every tree; the rocks—every rock. Her conversation is dotted with “Look, Dewayne…” and other phrases that conquerors don’t use, or necessarily want to hear.
Now, because I love her so much, I will actually try and look but there is a problem. I have discovered that while you are looking around, you can’t be looking down and if you aren’t looking down you aren’t seeing rocks and if you aren’t seeing rocks you are in trouble. Whew. Now that was one long sentence. But do you get my point? I suppose you could actually stop, and look around, but that is just not what conquerors do. We conquerors conqueror and you can’t conqueror much standing still.
So, what is a conqueror to do? Well, the truth is, we should stop (all you conquerors forgive me) and smell the roses. Judy is in fact right. The joy is in the journey. The joy is pausing and seeing what there is to see…to enjoy what is there to enjoy. Now that doesn’t mean I need a picture of every rock and tree, but I do need to see what my Dearest Daddy has made. We need to learn to hit pause, every once in a while and then soon enough, hit play again.
What happens if you don’t? Well, actually, two things. You are going to miss the best part of the trip or maybe the day. As I am writing, there is a big, and I do mean big, full moon. They said it was a “Wolf Moon.” I’m not sure why it is called that besides the fact that the conqueror in me kinda wanted to stop and let out a howl. Earlier I was driving when Judy said those two words, “Dewayne, look…”. This time I got it right. I stole a quick glance to my right and there it was…and it was magnificent. I could have made some comment about I was driving but I discovered you can carefully sneak a look at the moon and drive too. That is true on trails, and in many other sights and sounds.
Paul, the guy who wrote most of the New Testament in the Christian Bible said that we should take the time and redeem the time. What he was saying is that we should make the most of the time we have. But we need to realize that while that includes working and doing life…it should also include time to enjoy the journey. I’m glad I’m married to someone who knows how to do that. Does it drive me nuts sometimes? Absolutely, but even that is part of the joy of the journey. So, be careful and watch where you step but be sure and take a few minutes to enjoy life around you. Think you can’t? Sure you can, with the Creator’s help! After all, He’s got this.