On the back cover of a recent issue of Christian Century, a pair of photographs accompany a brief blurb about spiritual energy. The photos set the mood for the words rather than actually illustrate them.
The top picture is of a mountain road, curving through the forest to the right. The bottom picture is of a similar road in a similar forest, but bending to the left. It takes a moment of looking to realize that they are photographs of the same spot in the same road, each shot from a different side. The road that goes uphill to the right is the same road that goes downhill to the left.
It’s a reminder to me that what matters is not only which road we’re on but which way we’re going. Having lived for more than seven decades and having spent many hundreds of happy hours wandering mountain roads and trails, I’ve even come to realize that we usually end up walking both ways at one time or another in our lives. Sometimes we’re going somewhere and sometimes we’re just coming home.
Which is the “correct” direction to walk those mountain roads? There is no such thing. So we ought to avoid the arrogance which makes us want to tell others our path is right, our direction is right, our pace is right. All it takes is a little humility, plus a good dose of gratitude that we get to walk any path at all, and we’ve learned the secret of grace and peace.
Oh how badly our national “leaders” need to learn that simple recipe. But, of course, you and I need it, too.