Taking a Different Path

The new path I found on my morning walk

Every morning I head out on my daily walk here in rural Mexico, taking the same path for the first part of the walk, then heading either left or right. I’ve walked this path for eight years, the six months of each year we’re here in Mexico. Last week, however, I noticed a barely discernible new path, a slight thinning of grass and weeds, that had gone undetected by me up until then. I followed it.

The faint path eventually joined a rustic two track lane suitable for the small trucks the local farmers use to haul their produce from the field. There were additional truck lanes branching off from this, each one explored by me during the following morning walks.

This fresh take on my morning walks got me to thinking, as a man now in his 70s, that I want to be intentional about continuing to take fresh approaches in my life during the remainder of my journey here on earth. I don’t want to be stuck in my ways, living in a rut! I’m thinking of the statement by Laurence J. Peter, “A rut is simply a grave with the ends knocked out.”

What might it look like to seek to step off the familiar paths we trek each day? For those of us who are married it could mean pleasantly surprising our mate in some way, doing something different together, or maybe reflecting on how we found each other delightful to be with when we first met and allowing that memory to flow into the present.

We have family, neighbors, friends, and others that are regular players in our daily drama of living each day. Is there some way we could inject some surprise, laughter, or gratitude into their day that we haven’t done for awhile, or maybe never?

When it comes to some of our everyday domestic duties we carry out, is there a way to see them or do them in a fresh way? We may not get excited about buying groceries, mowing the lawn, doing dishes, or whatever. But could we set a goal of offering a friendly greeting to a few people while we buy groceries, giving thanks to God that we have the strength to mow the lawn, or finding some other way to see something extraordinary in the ordinary?

How about how we relate to God? If we don’t pray regularly how about trying to do so? If we do pray regularly how about intentionally moving away from religious repetition and talking to Him in a fresh way? Are there some other ways we can move our relating to God from being such a bore to being such a blessing?

We all walk through life one day at a time. How about stepping off the familiar path once in a while?

“He [God, the Good Shepherd] refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3)

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