Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In Between

I wrote this post several years ago, but in the midst of a rainy season and its consequent mud and puddles, I've not been able to get to the park for a walk. I miss it. This is by way of homage.

A geologist could probably explain why the river sounds different at different places along its route. But no one, me included, could explain why on any given day I must hear a particular sound of the river. Today, I knew I wanted to be at a certain wide flat piece of ground and hear the river there.
            The only problem is, that place is twenty minutes from the parking lot, down in the gorge. Translation: not one of the easier walks. And I’m tired today; I’m working double deadlines, and I’m behind. This somehow weighs on both my mind and my body the way carrying a full backpack would weigh on someone else.
            What I have going for me is stubbornness. Even after I started on the path, I thought of remaining on the path on top of the gorge, where the water is a distant murmuring. But I started down.
            I wish I could tell you that when I arrived there were angels or at least a burning bush, that I met my one true love or even saw a deer. Nothing. Just the water sound I had been longing for and the knowledge that I had to reverse my steps and climb back out of the gorge to the parking lot. Nothing in between, coming or going, either. Just the satisfaction of having done what I wanted to do.
            We’re so product-oriented, so focused on the finish, that we scurry through the process. We’re not terribly interested in the steps in between; so little, in fact, that we divide tasks into mini-goals and micro-goals so that we can get the rush of finishing, of checking off another thing.
            There had to have been days in his peripatetic final years when Jesus woke up stiff, weary of the drain on his body and brain, the lack of comprehension from his followers. Yet throughout his ministry, Jesus said his hour had not yet come. So he got up and walked through the day: Galilee to Jerusalem, over to Samaria, back to Galilee. He couldn’t make the end come any quicker, couldn’t accomplish what he’d come to do until it was time.
            We’re afraid of the in-between. I have myself wanted something, seen what it would require, and sabotaged my own efforts. Because it’s hard sometimes. And I don’t like hard. Life doesn’t seem to be about easy, though—not for cancer patients, not for anyone else.

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