Have you ever thought about the words delight, pleasure, and bliss? Do they describe the way you feel about the direction your life is heading? For years I was so caught up in the next phase of life that I missed out on where I was at on my path. “I will be happy when…” Ever said that to yourself?
Author and Analyst James Oppenheim said “The Foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise grows it under his feet.” Finding happiness in this journey called life is as important if not more rewarding than the actual destination.
Pondering the Path of Your Feet is about contemplating what your life is teaching you right now, and making course adjustments in our attitude. We may not always be able to choose what challenges we face in life, but we can always choose the way we react to them. A little bit of pondering, perspective, and practice can help us learn to find a little more joy today, where we are instead of where we wished we might be.
The Foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise grows it under his feet.” -James Oppenheim
Loving You’re Path
When my husband wanted to learn to play the ukulele he found a YouTube instructor who promised anyone could master the instrument with just 10 minutes of practice a day. Initially, the 10 minutes seemed reasonable, but soon the path to mastering the new instrument seemed filled with obstacles. The lack of immediate progress did not help to console the pain in his fingers or the discord to our family’s ears. But over time and with daily practice, my husband’s perspective changed from being frustrated he wasn’t “good enough yet” to simply enjoying what he could play – loving the path he was on. Time has also taught our family to appreciate the small improvements and progress he has made.
Our world would tell us a different story. It shouts that is it more important to measure up, to be more and do more – patience is for the weak and lazy. The problem with this ideology is that we are all different and one lifestyle does not fit all. Our lives are much like an instrument we are learning to master; each day we have choices to make, opportunities to grow, and perspective to gain. If we allow the world to dictate how and at what pace we learn and grow, we become stunted and stressed.
Your Path is Unique
Almost 30 years ago some dear friends of ours felt thrown at the mercy of life. They were blessed with a beautiful baby boy and life seemed to be wonderful. As much as they loved their son it soon became evident that something was not right. Leigh said she was in denial at first, questioning whether a pediatrician had enough training or knowledge to make the assumptions she was making. After their son, Michael was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called Lowe’s Syndrome she was overcome with grief at the loss of her son’s “normal” life.
The burden was heavy, and Leigh found herself thinking no one had it as hard as they did. She would compare her difficulties with other mothers and think they had nothing to complain about. Their children were not weighed down with bodies that didn’t work or delayed in their development. Although she was often discouraged, her moments of self-pity did not change the love she had for their son. She chose to focus on providing the most “normal” life she could for him.
One of the hardest times was when Michael asked why God created him with Lowe’s Syndrome. He felt discouraged with his limitations as he compared himself to others boys his age. Leigh told him that God made him so he could show God’s love, which couldn’t be truer. Michael loves others freely and without reservation – he reflects the pure love of God.
Pondering, Perspective and Progress
Years passed and Leigh’s perspective changed. Her realization was simple yet monumental – we all struggle. Our circumstances are different, yet we are the same. Challenges may come in different shapes and packages, but they are still challenges. Learning to love the uniqueness of our life – good and bad – can become a blessing in the midst of a trial. In pondering her path Leigh had learned to love the unique blessing of raising a disabled son and found she could not measure her growth until she looked back years later.
Progress takes time and measurable progress requires more time than we are usually willing to recognize. Just like learning to play the ukulele, the more time my husband gave to practice, the greater his ability grew. Sometimes we can choose the direction our life is taking us, other times we are faced with unexpected roadblocks. The key is choosing to move forward with purpose and clarity as we ponder the path of our feet.
What is something you love about the path you’re on? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Ponder the Path of Your Feet was originally published on Evolve! Live.Grow.Give. as Love the Path You’re On