The company we keep on the paths we walk…

(I have LOADS of pictures which I am working on getting onto the site. As soon as I do you will know! js)

My journey to date and the solitude it has provided me has provided ample opportunities for my Lord to speak to me…to show me things. As this journey is more about the folks that I hike for than me, I’ve been reluctant to share personal observations – at least up to now. If you’ll induldge me, this personal note not only applies to me but perhaps also to those family members of those I hike for…

Shadows, lot of shadows. The direction the trail takes you with all of its twists and turns and ups and downs. Add to that the angle of the sun and all of the different sizes and shapes of your surroundings.  There are lots of of shadows. One particular day, though, those factors combined in such a way that for the longest while, my own shadow preceded me as I walked on this particular trail section. It was in the early morning, I think – not a particularly important detail – except whether morning or late afternoon – I remember noticing that my shadow was long as it forged ahead of me.

And that’s when it hit me: my past, especially the last few years and the still vivid memories of Rebecca’s illness and death, have been like that shadow. It preceded me most of the days to date and always seemed long. And dark. And generally foreboding and lacking details. It was just there, in front of me, setting the mood for the walk at that time. For me, and I think for most of us, even renewed and forgiven Christians, I let my past – those shadows – determine far more than deserved. Should I/we learn from my past? Oh, yes.

And on this day, I think I finally did. You see, as I was walking and noticing all of this and contemplating it, I noticed something even bigger. My shadow was not the biggest thing on the trail or even in the forest. As I gazed around me, I saw even the tallest trees and their shadows dwarfed by something bigger. No matter how I walked or which direction the trail turned or twisted making my shadow shorter or longer, it didn’t matter. My shadow – all of the shadows in the woods – were overwhelmed by something…

The sunlight. The obvious and simple truth and fact is that for all of the darkness that the shadows held that day in the forest – including mine – it paled in comparison to the amount of sunlight covering the forest. What was especially noteworthy to me and the point of this blog, is that the sunlight was all around my shadow and preceded it far up ahead on my path.

If I let my shadow – my past – with the sorrow, the deep sense of purposelessness and lieflessness, be what is my path each day, then gray will dictate each step. But, if I learn from my past and let those things mentioned heretofore not callous my heart and will, but make it tender and resolute instead, then perhaps change can let the sunlight be what dictates each step. My shadow could not and now I realize, cannot ever, exceed the sunlight that allows it to exist in the first place. Are there still shadows? Yes. and they are real and must be faced. But there is more sunlight.

The sunlight is, as some have said, a light unto my path. Better steps and brighter paths are – I hope and pray – ahead.


About jeffsimpsonhiker

Through-hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise money for Leukemia-Lymphoma Society, St Baldrick's and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
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One Response to The company we keep on the paths we walk…

  1. Pingback: Meet My Friend Jeff « Stonehouseoutdooradventures's Blog

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