Friday, March 11, 2016
One Step at a Time—Carolyn R. Wilker
We have a framed print of an original painting on our wall, created by my brother-in-law, Bryan. The scene is of a lovely sunny winter day with a road that winds through some bush perhaps, shadows of the trees on either side crisscrossing the snowy road, and an ice-covered lake just to the right of where the road curves to the left around it. I don’t know if Bryan painted it from a real scene or created it from his imagination, and I don’t know where he was in his life when he painted it. I’ve never asked him, but I might do that someday.
I look at that painting often and wonder what’s on the other side of the trees just past the bend in the road. Is there a cabin where someone lives? Might there be smoke coming from a chimney and a fire in the fireplace where someone is going to visit on such a cold day? Or is it simply a look at nature in its frozen beauty on a calm sunny day?
Winding roads are not new. We see them when we hike on nature paths, in photographs, and paintings like my brother-in-law’s where the artist leads the eye just beyond the present scene. Like our lives, when we wonder what lies ahead, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just is.
I remember years ago asking my friend, Maryann a question, “What if we could see what happens in the future?” I was thinking near future, around the next bend in the road, but not too far.
She said, “You probably don’t want to know.”
Indeed, I probably may not like all I see. But I might want to know some things, such as a friend outrunning a cancer diagnosis, a child growing through difficult times to succeed in some way later. Those would be good to know. It might even be good to have assurance that a career that’s challenging now will work out better later on. But I don’t know until I get there.
Maybe it’s the reassurance I get from God that he’ll be with me, and you, on every step of our journey if we only ask. And the prayers of others, the hugs from friends that help as I grapple with a loved one’s terminal illness. All of these things encourage me and give me strength.
Some moments I want to shut out other responsibilities and tasks to concentrate only on the one in hospice, even though it’s tiring. I have other family members—daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren. I have friends, a job, and other commitments. Some I can put on hold for awhile, but others are like a fire—the right kind of fire—that need tending. Thus I reach out to others to help me through this time and I pray a lot, as I drive, as I walk, and at night before I go to sleep.
I pray for peace, understanding and to see more clearly and to treat others I meet along the way with compassion, such as a woman at the hospice who needed a hug, or someone at the grocery store, for I don’t know what others are going through either. It could be someone who’s just lost a job, their means of living, or lost a best friend or have even lost hope.
Please, Lord, be gentle with me now as I stand on this precipice, as I put in this waiting time and contemplate again that next bend in the road, even while I’m standing in the present.
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