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8/06/2003

 
| All Roads Lead to Rome -- or -- No Matter Where You Go, There You Are



My wife and I went hiking the other day in the Adirondacks. It is one of our favorite things to do. For me, hiking is a form of meditation. It takes you away from the stimulus and the stresses of daily life and puts you in touch with the quiet beauty of nature. The only thing that matters on a hike is navigating your way through the forest; putting one foot in front of the other. The final destination is only a suggestion -- not a purpose or a goal. Things that are essential and important in the outside world are meaningless and unimportant in the forest.

I always learn something when I go hiking -- and this hike was no exception.

I planned for this hike by pulling out my trusty Adirondack trail map. I plotted a hike which would take us through the forest up a short trail which would lead us to a secluded mountain pond. Once there we would have a picnic lunch.

We drove our car to the trail head. From there, we started down the trail.

Then we had a slight problem.

Somehow, we missed the turnoff point to a smaller trail, the path I had plotted out, which would take us to the pond. By the time we figured this out, it would have taken too much time to turn around. We were forced to take another trail to the pond -- a trail which was a longer, more indirect route.

It was difficult, uphill climb. The trail was muddy. We were forced several times to catch our breath. In the back of my mind I was cursing myself for missing the turn for the shorter route.

We finally made it the pond. It was beautiful and my wife and I had a wonderful picnic. In fact, we were sad when we had to leave. On the way back we took the shorter trail that I plotted out earlier in the day.

I was shocked at what I saw. The trail was, as intended, much shorter than the trail my wife and I inadvertently took to get to the pond. But it was incredibly steep. If we had taken this trail earlier, we would have never made it to the top; let alone to the pond. We would have been forced to turn around -- and we would not have had the wonderful time we ended up having.

Missing the turn off at the beginning of our hike and taking the indirect route was a blessing in disguise.

There is a life lesson here.

How many times in my life have I bemoaned the fact that life isn't going how I intended? I often complain that I am not where I want to be in life -- my goals are being accomplished much too slowly for my tastes, or not at all. I am convinced my life is cursed. No one could have worse luck than me!

Then, later in life I reflect back to these troubled times and realize had life worked out the way I had planned in my mind, I would not have all the good things in my life today.

Wow.

We all walk a path that is our life. We may not like the path at times. It may be too long and muddy for our tastes -- but I am convinced it is the path we were destined to walk. I need to remind myself of that from time to time. Instead of cursing the path I should enjoy the scenery. I will get to where life is taking me in due time.

No sooner.

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