“We Make the Road by Walking”
The title above is an edited quote from the poet Antonio Machado. His poem reminds us that our footsteps create the path we need. We make our way in life by striding into it. Our lives do not come with maps. Since every life is a novice experience; we all step into uncharted territory and every tomorrow is untouched. Praise God that we are not left blind! Countless guides point from their own experience. We depend on a Word of Truth which shapes the points of our compass. We are led by one who sees around the curves of our lives. Still, our individual path is unmarked, waiting for us to blaze it. It's vain to hunt for paved highways that will lead us to the correct destination. Paved paths have been blazed by others, but they lead to someone else’s destination.
What's true of our lives in general, applies to our souls specifically. Our soul's progress is a pilgrimage. We make our path by walking and we walk by faith. Our craving for certainty will have to go unfed. Our longing for obvious signage and direct routes will be disappointed. We eventually learn that spirituality isn't a race. We proceed one step at a time. Most journeys are not straight lines. Who hasn't wandered in circles? Since our path is created by a faith walk, we'll have to accept the unavoidable fact that we will make our share of mistakes. It is the human dilemma. Some of our steps will be misplaced. There will be wrong turns, dead ends and the need to retrace our steps. I acknowledge that it's not always efficient. Often we worry that we have ruined the trip. But know this - God is less concerned than we are.
God knows that no one gets it right - no one. Perfectionism, proficiency, productiveness, predictability and performance – these are slogan words for building a business. But souls require a different language. Mercy, forgiveness, empathy, gentleness and grace. These are the whispers of God for pilgrims. They are spoken to the fears and failures of those who are lost. They call the soul who has halted, unsure about the next step. They give hope to the sojourner who treads into the unknown. We make the road by walking. So ask God what your next step is. Learn from the errors of yesterday but don't carry them. Harvest wisdom from fellow pilgrims but stay on your own path. Face the forest with faith -- and walk.