step OFF the path

10 days – that’s a pretty long time for me not to blog!

Lots has happened. We’ve been adjusting to a having a dog in the home. I’ve lost 7 kg in 10 days just from dog walking – thats a faster rate than in the gym last year (and it’s a lot cheaper!). I’ve also met with the Suffragen bishop to start to talk about my future: that did not go s well as I had hoped, but I am not yet worried or despondent! I also met with the person responsible for my ongoing training and we have some stuff that looks good ahead of me.

I have done a lot of walking recently with Skye. A great advantage of walking is the time and space that it gives to reflect. For example, I have started to see the beauty of creation once again in my own back yard as it were. I have started to see that (even) Medway can and does look good!

One reflection I have been mulling over as I walk is the routes that we take. When walking Skye I generally stick to the path that leads from A to B. Skye does not. She criss crosses the path, led by the interest generated in her nose. Whichever scent she picks up she follows. Skye and myself start at point A together and arrive at point B together. We both spend the same amount of time moving from point A to point B. I stick to the path, but Skye just goes everywhere. A conservative estimate is that Skye probably covers, at speed, about ten times the amount of space that I cover.

That got me thinking. I’ve lived near the Darland Banks for around 14 years. I have walked them many times with the family, always sticking to the path. Skye has been with us 10 days but has already covered more of the area than I have in the last 14 years.

Skye does not know that protocol means you stick to the path, which means she has discovered stuff that others have not and that she has explored things that mere humans like me did not even know were there. In 10 days she has acquired a better understanding of the lay of the land than I have in 14 years!

In faith, in theology, in life … it does seem that there are rules that we are supposed to follow. We are told that there are paths that we should sick to, depending on what particular flavour of Christianity we come from. But, I have noticed in the last few days while observing Skye that if we stick to the paths things can remain undiscovered. If we stick to the path we are in danger of staying oblivious to stuff that is ‘out there’, stuff that is useful, edifying and created by God for our pleasure, enjoyment and education and, yes, even to challenge us. If we stick to the path we run the risk of missing out on 90% of whatever it is that is around us.

I guess some people stick to the path through fear of injury or getting lost whereas others stick to the path because that is what they have always done, and it has become a habit. Others stick to the path, because using common sense, it is usually the quickest way to get from A to B. Whatever the reason, if we stick to the path, we will not receive all that is out there to receive.

So as people, as Christians, as people of faith …. maybe we need to stray off the path and discover more of what God has put out there. I mean …. really …. imagine the exciting discoveries ahead of you …

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