A Path With a View

It doesn’t take
much to stop me in my tracks these days. “Will you look at that? The cotton
fluff from the poplars makes it look as if it’s snowing.” “Wait a minute. Did
you see how that little girl laid her hand on her daddy’s face? That’s the
definition of tenderness, right there.” “This gas station has the best view!
Right across the street—Lake Michigan all sparkled up for spring.”
I’m savoring the
little details of life, like the way the black currant juice satisfies from the
fragrance alone even before I take a sip. The delectable wonder of just the
right pillow. Crazy colored cotton socks. The unique blue ink of my favorite
gel pen. Almost cornflower blue, which I wouldn’t know how to describe if it
weren’t for the Crayola company.
Too often I’ve
forgotten that the path God set us on is a path with a view, not unlike this
photograph taken on a recent mini-vacation. To stay upright, we have to pay
attention to the path. To stay fulfilled, we can’t lose sight of the view along
the way.
Does that
resonate with you, too? If I get too focused on the next step in my
journey—relationally, spiritually, in my career—a whole world of “Will you look
at that?” will pass by unnoticed.
The mother of a
newborn may “waste” an hour watching her baby sleeping, watching a dream-smile
flash across the serene face, watching the baby’s chest rise and fall. An
experienced mom may not take the time for fear the laundry will push against
the ceiling tiles. A grandmother may “waste” an hour watching her grandchild
sleep for the sheer joy of observing and savoring the fleeting moments.
What happened in
the middle? Life became more about the path than about the view.
If someone asks
about your life and you pull out your calendar rather than your pictures, or
give a list rather than tell a story, what does that say about where our
attention is focused? If asked to describe the last year of your life’s
journey, would you start with what the path looked like or what the scenery
held?
It’s a question
I’m asking myself. My husband asked me if I wanted to go for a walk. I almost
answered, “I can’t. I need to get this blog written.” Instead, I said, “Sure.
Let me get a jacket.”
We wandered
across the yard and up the hill to our pond. We sat on the two-person swing by
the water and watched red-winged black birds alternately scold us and each
other. We took turns guessing what was making that ripple in the surface of the
pond. Muskrat? Turtle? Nessie? Then we wandered back the way we’d come, kicking
at pine cones and dandelions, talking about nothing much but holding hands
while we did, noting that the garage needs a new roof one of these days,
remarking that the rain had washed away the last remnants of the
grandchildren’s chalk art on the driveway.
The words waited
until I got back to them. They always do.
I hadn’t stopped
to smell the roses. No roses in my garden. But I noticed that the smell of
lilacs and lily-of-the-valley are completely compatible.
It may have been
my imagination, but I thought I caught God smiling there for a minute. I wasn’t
describing the roughness of the path under my feet but the beauty of the view
that lined the path on all sides.
Novelists are
good at observing details when they need them for a story world. But sometimes
we get so engrossed in the writing process that we miss the color of the sky in
our own world.
I agree with the
psalmist who said, “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the
lifter of my head,” Psalm 3:3 ESV. When I forget that this path He has me on
comes with a view, He puts one finger under my chin and lifts my focus so I
don’t miss the scenery while I’m navigating the path.
Does He do that
for you, too? Tell me about the last time He lifted your head to redirect your
line of sight. Our stories feed each other’s faith, don’t they?
Cynthia Ruchti is an author and speaker
who tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels, novellas,
nonfiction, and through speaking engagements for women’s groups and writers’
events. Her latest novel—When the Morning Glory Blooms—gave her a new view of
the landscape of grace with its limitless horizon. You can learn more about
that book or the others Cynthia has written through her website www.cynthiaruchti.com or by connecting
through www.facebook.com/cynthiaruchtireaderpage
or www.twitter.com/cynthiaruchti