Post Title: A Reliable Mobility Guide to Safely Reach Home – A Spiritual Parallel
Our Neighborhood Walks.
Last summer my older brother and I started walking together for health reasons. We decided we liked this routine and occasionally, even walked twice a day. Walking helped us on several levels, so we continued making this a priority this summer as well. If you have seen me walking down tree-lined Lake Street turning the corner to the pretty, and quite residential Rice Avenue, or even striding along the sidewalks of grassy-lawned Hathaway Street, you may wonder why I am not using a white cane but profess not to see. After all, with my degree of sight loss due to my eye condition of Retinitis Pigmentosa, in most of my blog posts I emphasize the importance of navigating with my mobility cane.
When my brother and I started our mile-long walk through the neighborhood, we made a deal. We would walk together, and he would guide me along the sidewalk. If I navigated with my white cane, I could trip him. I did that before and it scared us both. I walk faster than he does, and my cane slaps at his ankles, a considerable risk to him. Therefore, during our walks, I leave my cane at home and rely on him to verbally guide me.
As we follow our route, we chat about memories of our family, current events, and our goals. It’s a wonderful time to connect each evening. But our conversation also distracts him, and he forgets to tell me about an uneven rise in the sidewalk or a small drop-off. Sometimes a bush juts out too far and I get slapped in the face with it.
Other times, he is spot on. He mentions when a rough patch of cement is ahead, or someone is coming from the opposite direction and we have to move over. He is quick to point out the mud puddles, too. I’m always grateful to sidestep those!
Our conversations go something like this:
“Mom always liked that house,” I point to a lovely brick house as we pass in front of it.
“They have a well-kept yard.”
“Oooff!” I lurch forward. “You forgot to tell me about that bump. Thank goodness, I saw it myself.”
“Sorry,” he mumbles. “You okay?”
“Yeah, I’m good. Just remember I can’t see everything. I need you to be my eyes.”
“I know. I’ll do better. Hey, we’re more than halfway home.”
“At the library, it’ll be two-thirds of the way… Yay!” I’m motivated, but I do wonder if I’ll make it home safely. Using a human guide isn’t perfect. I had better keep my eyes open. Stay alert. Sometimes I wish I had my white cane as it routinely finds any obstacle in my path, so I can relax. But I make do and we follow our route as best we can, focusing on our friendship. It’s so great to not only love my brother, but to have a friendship with him as well.
My Spiritual Walk.
As I journey along on our evening health walks, I am reminded of how similar it is to my spiritual walk.
When my Retinitis Pigmentosa pushes me to put my trust in another person, I do pretty well with my mobility. I’m often warned ahead of time about the cracks and uneven sidewalks I’m about to come up against. We can go along for quite a distance and enjoy each other’s company. Likewise, when I put my trust in another person, spiritually, I do fairly well. We help each other stay on track, in fact. We remind each other to stay clear of obstacles and to follow the correct path.
But like human error also accounts for my stumbling and awkward pitches forward, the same thing happens in my spiritual life. I need to go to the source to find my true direction. The Bible doesn’t rely on memory, or try to word something in a way that avoids offending me. It is a straightforward tool that lets me know what I’m up against in no uncertain terms. It will show me the big pitfalls, and the areas sure to trip me up. If I use it as I’ve been trained, it will catch the trouble spots. Proverbs 4:27 states, “Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”
Sometime even when I use my cane, I don’t take time to employ the proper techniques. I become too lazy to sweep it back and forth and once in a while, I even carry it in one hand, which provides no help at all. Likewise, when I read the Bible, at times, I’m careless and don’t pay close attention to what it says. God knows in advance this will happen, and allows me to experience preventable accidents that will, in the end result, cause me to return to His words and find clearer direction. Romans 8:28 reminds me, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God is an infallible spiritual guide. It’s me, then who has to step up my game.
As I walk with my brother, I realize the blessing he is in my life. I’m mobile, and enjoying spending precious time with him. When we return to the house, I give him a glass of cold water or orange juice as a reward for his effort and he takes a good rest on the porch. But this reminds me even more so of how precious my time is with my eternal guide. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful (or active).” If I heed his words, I’ll make it safely home. The refreshment I receive will be rest at Jesus’ feet.