As you walk down a path, shaded by trees and flanked by bushes and undergrowth, you wonder, what lies around the bend? And you long to see, to know, to immediately grasp everything to come. But even if you could, you wouldn’t. That would be like skipping ahead to read the last page of a book. Where’s the fun in that? You have to let it unfold, slowly. You have to take your walk one step at a time, feeling the packed earth beneath your feet, the wind in your hair, smells of foliage and flowers in your nostrils. You have to observe every moment, the beauty and the preciousness of all around you. And as you finally turn each bend, the new sights will still be there to welcome you, and delight you with their beauty.
It starts to rain, but you have an umbrella, and anyway, rain is good. You watch it fall, and soak into the ground. You imagine the trees and the grass and the shrubs soaking up this life through their roots, thirstily drinking this life-giving drink. Your shoes slosh in the puddles, but it’s okay. It’s just water, it won’t hurt you. Sometimes the trees hang low, and the way darkens. Other times the sun bursts through and bounces off every rain drop. Light or dark, it is a gift. A stream rushes alongside the path, and you listen to its burbling along its way, swishing past the overgrowth on either side.
You turn the next bend, and suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a storm. The sky is black, thunder rumbles and the only light is from forks of lightning flashing across the sky. You see lightning strike a tree not far from you, and the nearness of the electricity makes the hairs on your body stand on end. This is terrifying. But you can’t go back, its too far. You can’t stop, that wouldn’t be safe. You have to keep going. You want to skip ahead, because this part of the journey you can do without. There’s no way to do that, so you keep moving, one foot doggedly in front of the other, waiting for the next bend in the road, waiting for safety.
The path bends again, now towards the stream, and a small footbridge that curves across it. You hurry across, and daylight returns. Thunder grumbles into the distance, and birds begin to sing. You weathered the storm. You are soaked, and tired, but relieved that you have made it through, that you are okay, that you are nearly home.
My prayer for anyone reading this is that you and your loved ones stay safe and well. It may take a long while, but the path will bend again. We will come out into the light again.