As I've mentioned before, I live within walking distance of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, which is a twenty-mile run of paved trails built on retired train tracks. Obviously, I don't walk all twenty miles of it, but most mornings, I do a prayer walk that ranges from three to four miles. To get to the trail, I need only walk to the end of my road, take a right, follow that street for a short distance, then turn left at the steep driveway for a manufacturing plant. The driveway itself turns right at the bottom of the hill, but when I continue going straight through a small batch of bushes and other foliage, I arrive at the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
Before you accuse me of trespassing, the manufacturing company has no problem with this use of their driveway, and many others use this shortcut to get to the trail. The issue in the summer is that the small bush and foliage area between the driveway and the trail can get severely overgrown. This results in briars, thick leaves, and various critters that love the woody atmosphere. It's not uncommon for me to fight through that area and come out on the other side wet (from the dew) and scratched all to pieces. It's rather annoying, to be honest.
Anyway, this morning, when I arrived at the "war zone," I immediately noticed that some kind soul had trimmed back all the weeds and bushes, clearing a nice path for walkers like me. I couldn't contain my smile or the words that tumbled from my mouth, "Thank you, trail people!" If the person/people who did it was/were standing there, I would have probably hugged them. I would want them to know how much I appreciated their efforts. It made my morning, both coming and going.
You know, we have the opportunity each day to do the same for others. I'm not talking about weedeating necessarily, but I'm referring to paving a trail for others to follow. Think about it, someone else did all the work, but I had the privilege of reaping the rewards. It cost someone else time and effort, and in return, I got the opportunity to continue my walk unhindered. We can do the same.
When we learn from our mistakes, we can teach others so that they can avoid making the same mistakes we did. When we receive comfort, we can pass that comfort on to others in their time of need. When we go out of our way to do something for others, knowing that the only thing we'll get in return is the satisfaction of knowing that we made someone's day a little brighter and their journey a little easier.
I'm reminded of the valley of Baca. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. (Psalm 84:5-6)
The man passing through the valley doesn't dig the wells for his sake but rather for the benefit of all those who will follow in his wake. He does the work, and others reap the rewards. Why? Because it's the right thing to do. Because it's what he would hope someone would do for him. Because it's an outpouring of the fruit of the Spirit. Kindness. Compassion. Love.
My challenge for you today is two-fold. First off, I encourage you to look for ways to pave the path for others. Share your knowledge, wisdom, experience, funds, etc. Find the means to encourage those around you and to help bear the load of fellow runners in this race we call life. Second, don't forget to thank those who have been that trailblazer in your life. Too often, we take for granted what others do for us when we should be offering thanks. Give a hug. Or a smile. Someone has taken the time and effort to pave the way for you so that your journey would be a little easier. Don't they at least deserve some gratitude?
Enough said. Let's get busy blazing some trails!