OH, GO TAKE A HIKE

By Lisa Huddleston

I finally took that walk in the woods I’d been planning for weeks.  It was Sunday afternoon, and I had several hours free so Chuck left his football game, I set down my knitting, and we headed out.  I was shocked!  How had I missed it?  The leaves I had been planning to enjoy lay in crunchy piles around our feet so noisy that we couldn’t even carry on a conversation.  Where had the color and beauty gone?

Before you give me the benefit of the doubt and say that we all are busy, I must confess to you that I live in a small cove of pasture that cuts a deep horseshoe right into the center of said woods.  I live right in the middle of it and still I had missed the opportunity to take a stroll amidst the once-a-year coloropoly.  My disappointment weighed down each step as I trudged through the leaves trying to make the best of it. 

Surely, the woods are still beautiful.  I dearly love the ancient trunks and the scratched, bluish-brown sassafras bark, the acorns in their caps, and the wild holly, but it feels like an eternity lies between now and when the autumn colors will return.  My heart ached and groaned like the wind in the trees.  Why did I wait too long?

Unfortunately, the leaves are probably the least important thing I’ve missed lately.  Friends have moved without my taking the opportunity to wish them well, it’s been ages since I’ve visited with my sisters, and I missed a webinar today because I thought the time meant CST when it really was EST (as the email clearly stated).  And the list doesn’t end there.  Notes I haven’t yet sent.  Phone calls I really should make.  So many good intentions buried like the acorns in a sea of dried, dead leaves.

After our woodsy walk, we attended a memorial service for a dear friend we had not seen in quite some time, and one of the men who shared his memories confessed that he also had not taken the time to express appropriately his deep thankfulness for his departed friend. The lost opportunity had jarred him. He had written four other friends that week to let them know how much he appreciated them, but he realized that he couldn’t recover the chance he had missed. 

And I guess that’s the best we can do.  We can’t recover spent time.  Once gone, it’s gone forever.  However, we do have 24 new hours each day.  Hours that we can choose to spend in appreciation for the beauty around us, in thankfulness for the blessing of true friends, and in awareness of the passing of each valuable moment.

As I write it is 11:45 a.m., CST.  I have half a day ahead of me.  Some of those moments are already planned, but many still lie in vaguery and good intentions.  May I see the opportunities more clearly and may I access the time I’ve been given to love, to rejoice and be glad in this day, as the Lord leads.   Amen.

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