There is a great quote in Emily Freeman’s book A Million Little Ways (actually it’s filled with amazing words…go read it) by Henri Nouwen and it goes like this:
Be faithful to your vocation to do well the few things you are called to do and hold onto the joy and peace they bring you.
I live in the foothills of some pretty beautiful mountain country. In less than an hour I can be standing at the cusp of an amazing view. But I have to go through some windy roads, under lots of tree cover where I can’t really see at all what’s coming. It’s curvy and with each curve you think you are going to come around it and see this great view and no matter how many times in my life I’ve driven those roads I never remember which curve it is that finally opens up to the first amazing view. It’s always a shock. The expanse of it after being inside this crazy, curvy tree cover and them bam! all I see is this huge open sky.
I think for most of us, this is life. We are walking this path that is windy, maybe flat, in and out of tree cover and at some point we might be blessed with this crazy amazing view, but sometimes we aren’t. We keep thinking that this next curve, surely this next curve is going to open up some space or some relief or some openess. That surely this next curve is going to give us that view that shows us and reminds us why we are walking this path to begin with.
Which brings me back to the Nouwen quote. We have to stay the course. We have to be faithful to the tasks that we’ve been given and we have to stop ignoring the view that is right in front of us. I can so easily get caught up in my life that when I do look up all I’m longing for is that big view, that big picture, that big relief and openness and I miss what’s right in front of me.
Mountain roads around my neck of the woods are super scary to me because they aren’t wide like the roads in the Rockies. They are narrow and winding and oftentimes you are right at the edge of some crazy “cliff”. Honestly I hate it. I hate the narrowness of it all, but I have to traverse these narrow roads if I ever want to see the view. Emily Freeman calls this “befriending the narrow limits.” When we accept these narrow places in our lives, we are reminded that we can’t do this on our own. This view isn’t ours to achieve.
It’s in those narrow places that we realize the Divine.
God is gracious to us in our lives to offer us amazing views of how He is working. Sometimes those views come by means of memory and times past and sometimes they do come around the next curve. But in the waiting, in the times when we are longing for that expanse to open up we also have to focus on the now and be present with the view that is right in front of us.