“Let’s not look ahead,” I wrote.
Karen and I were texting about situations in our days, and my statement caught her. She wrote back a while later, “I have thought two or three times already about the suggestion… let’s not look ahead. So important.”
Sometimes we want to try to know the trail of life ahead of time. We don’t want to just walk, be present on the walk to the moments we encounter, but we want to see what’s coming. It is interesting that we can actually do this in some situations, like reading a novel, when we read the end early on, or in a movie when we know how it ends, but in most of life we cannot know the future. We cannot check out the path ahead of time, we cannot know the turns and bends that await us.
Karen and I when we married in 1981 did not know what God would walk us both through by way of healing. The journey has been immense as we both have had to face and walk through the pain of the past. Even though it has been excruciating at times, and we may not have wanted to walk this path had we known, still, we did walk it. And both of us would say, we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Of course there are ways that looking ahead is important — like planning for a big trip, and joyfully anticipating what is to come as you travel. Or like driving aware of the road ahead of you! That is different. But the kind of “looking ahead” we were texting about, is the kind when we decide what the future of a relationship will be based upon the present difficulties.
On Saturday 6 of us headed out to walk the 4T trail again this past weekend. We walked from the church to the Sunset Transit Center, took MAX to the Zoo, then walked the four miles up to OHSU, took the tram down to John’s Landing, the Street Car (or Trolley) into the City Center, ate at the food carts and then took MAX back to the Sunset Transit Center and walked back to the church. Rather, that is what we anticipated doing.
The trail was beautiful. We shared cool conversations along the way. We did have great meals at the food carts, but then discovered after waiting for the MAX for about 30 minutes that it was broken down. Suddenly our day changed. Instead, we walked to Powell’s and waited for bus #20 to get us back to Sunset Transit Center.
What a gift that wait was! We got to be present to people. Lots of people! And we got to meet this homeless, Vet named Aaron and pray with him and love on him with food gifts.
Perhaps had we looked ahead and realized that the MAX would break down we might not have wanted to take the walk, but because we couldn’t know that, we just had an adventure together.
Now within a month to the departure day for the sabbatical, I’m excited and seeking to just live the moments. The tendency is to just “live into the future” without living in the present. But I would like to experience the whole trail, wherever it takes me.