Earlier this year, my family and I hiked up a sizable hill at a local county park. After admiring the view of the bay and hills, we started down the other side.
We quickly realized it wasn’t a good path to take. The trail was narrow and treacherously steep. The ground was deeply grooved, bearing the evidence of washout from the recent rains. Prickly bushes scratched our legs. After a few minutes, we turned around and went back down the hill the way we had come ≥up.
That’s the thing about hiking: you can easily find yourself on the wrong path. Even if you know exactly where you want to end up, you may not know the best way to get there.
Hiking is a great metaphor for life. As Christians, we want to live lives of goodness and meaning. We know what we want; we just don’t always know how to get it. Every day, we have choices to make . . . and the best, most life-giving choice is not always immediately clear.
So I feel for the psalmist when he writes, “Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths” (Psalm 25:4). Those paths are not always clearly-marked. We want them to be. We want the neon signs saying GO THIS WAY!
But maybe—just maybe—it’s better this way. Maybe when we have to do the hard work of discernment, it draws us closer to God, closer than we would otherwise have been. And we learn from every path we take. Even when we have to circle back to the starting point and take a different trail, we do so with hard-won knowledge that helps us in the future.
And with God, our compassionate God, there is always another chance to begin again.
Make the time to go to Confession this week and remind yourself how to prepare with our guide.
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is a mother, high school English teacher, and BBC period drama junkie. She is the author of three books, including Taste and See: Experiencing the Goodness of God with Our Five Senses and Random MOMents of Grace: Experiencing God in the Adventures of Motherhood. Ginny lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two boys, and about thirty thousand Legos. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Seven Sacraments found here. You can find out more about her here.