I didn't know I was doing it. Not really. Not until I glanced up and saw what stretched before.
We've been walking, The Mister and I, logging three miles a night. "See you later," we tell the kids, lacing up our sneakers and hitting the door.
Some nights, we're in more of a hurry. Depending on what the day's been like, there could be a traffic jam in that back door, both of us scrambling to get out. Could be, I said. There could be.
Anyway, so I've been noticing something odd. There we are, walking along, talking over the day's events and over all that concerns us right now. Head down, I'm plowing along, pushing ahead, straining forward, 'cause that's life right now.
All at once, I look up. And see all that I've been missing. To the left? The current corn crop, hard hit by a terrible drought, but green, still. To the right? Soybeans, a signature Indiana crop, also green. Trees, too, green, along the way.
We hit halfway, our turning point, and forge back the way we came. I'm doing it again, looking down. There (oo, ick!) is a dead raccoon, road kill because the poor fellow didn't make it across. He stinks! Shuddering, I cross the road.
"I'm not walking past that," I say, hand clamped over my nose. The Mister, he laughs. That girl...
And I get it. I do. How many times have I done this? How many times have I dropped my gaze, allowed my focus to drift to now, here? To the today? To the trials and pain and difficulties of the moment? To the - excuse me, the ugly and decaying; the yucky parts of life in a fallen world?
There's no getting around it. Life down here just stinks sometimes. It does. It's hard. It's messy. It's painful. It takes everything you've got and then some. It can steal your joy that quick if it's all you see.
So here's what I'm learning out there on the open road. There where the sun's shining so bright and fierce you can hardly see. Where it's hot and it stinks and it's blood, sweat and tears. On the road, which is a whole lot like life, I have to look up. The stretch that I'm on right now won't last. There's more (lots more) just past the next step. And the next. And the next.
I'm learning to look up toward Heaven. Toward the Father. Toward Him from whence comes my help, for in Him is strength. In Him is joy.
In Him is hope and help and peace no matter what I'm walking through (or walking past) today. Up ahead, there's green. And gold. He promised.
"But He knoweth the way that I take. When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." - Job 23:10