August 11, 2009

Do You Believe In Signs?

Over the weekend, I decided to challenge myself and extend my daily walk by an additional mile on a gravel road with lots of hills and loose gravel.  It would definitely make the walk more interesting as well as more of a workout.

I was a little apprehensive about adding an additional mile with the weather being so humid and hot as it often is at this time of year in the Midwest.  But, I told myself that I needed to take this walk for me as a personal challenge and to think about a really tough decision I was mulling over.  In the country, on this particular gravel road there are no homes.  I would walk without the net of people near by for assistance should I need it.  What if I saw a snake?  What if I got blisters, got overheated, became thirsty or needed help?  I would be on my own for the distance I planned to walk, so if I started out I would be committed to finish in order to get back to my car.

I parked the car, grabbed my camera and set off down the gravel road that would take me to an old rickety metal bridge where I would turn around and retrace my steps back to the car.

When I walk I can't help but, look down at the road under my feet as I walk along hoping to find fossils, interesting rocks or some other treasure.  I left this rock with a fossil behind, settling for just a photo to share with you.  I decided filling my pockets with rocks would not help my chances of finishing the walk successfully.

As I walked along, my mind kept returning to the tough decision I needed to make that seemed impossible to resolve.  I had been thinking it over for weeks unable to make a choice.  Which way should I go - which choice should I make?  The way I saw it, it was an either/or proposition. 

As I walked along, I glanced down at my feet and right in front of me not two feet away was this little female bluebird sitting in the middle of the gravel road seeming to be unable to move or fly away.

She was obviously distressed with her beak open in a silent cry.  I stood looking at this little bird and I thought how much we had in common -  we were both stuck unable to fly.  I knelt down speaking soothingly to her looking at her to see if she were injured.  I couldn't find any sign of injury, she seemed fine.  She was just stuck unable to take flight to safety.

I decided not to disturb her and walked away wondering if I should have moved her out of the road to safety.  What if a car came along?  Would she move to safety?  Could she fly?  I decided to let her be and move her to safety if she was still there when I returned on the way back to my car.
Our situations seemed parallel and I wondered was she the sign I had been praying for - a resolution to my problem?  What did it mean?  I was afraid to make the wrong choice so I was stuck with the agony of going over and over my options to the point of agony.  Nightmares, anxiety, frustration - well I had been riding the emotional roller coaster of indecision.

I approached the half way point of my journey which was the old metal expansion bridge that has been on this road since the late 1800's.  I had made it to the half way point.  I was feeling better about the walk and began to believe that I could add the additional mile with no difficulty.  It was going to be easier than I thought.
The bridge creaked with each step as I crossed it.  I wondered who had checked it's integrity last - was it checked each year?  Had my ancestors walked across this bridge or swam in the waters of the creek below?  They had lived not far from here so it was a possibility.  It was comforting to know that the bridge was still here as it had been for so long and that my Great Grandmother and her sisters could have walked across this very bridge.

Wildflowers covered the bank on the other side of the bridge in bright yellow blossoms.  So beautiful, swaying in the morning breezes.  I felt happy to be in such a beautiful place on such a beautiful day.

I crossed the bridge and started my return down the country road back to my car.  I didn't see the little bluebird, she had made her decision and flown away.  I still felt like this turtle, I wanted to hide inside myself.  I didn't want to make this decision even though I knew that I had to choose. 

I had to be brave like the bluebird.  I had to conquer my fear, look deep inside and make a choice.  A choice I knew would change the course of my life either for the better or possibly for the worst.  This called for faith and trusting my inner voice - the voice of my soul.

In an instant I knew what I needed to do and the choice was made.  I could fly again.  I was no longer stuck - frozen in fear.  I felt free.

As I finished the last portion of the walk back to my car I felt over joyed with happiness.  The burden of a difficult choice hanging over my head was lifted.  A decision had been made.  I would finish this walk and felt like I could go an additional two miles I was so happy.

Suddenly I was surrounded by dragonflys - they were everywhere - flying overhead, beside me and in the grass beside the road.  Was this a sign of a good choice?  I took it as a blessing for the decision I had made after weeks of uncertainty.  I felt that I had made the right choice.  Deep inside there was no longer any uncertainty - I was once again at peace.

That night I slept soundly for the first time in weeks.

Everything, absolutely everything we think, say or do makes a difference.  This is a joyously liberating message because every moment we are presented with the possibility of changing our future.  We change, and our future changes too.
- Lama Surya Das


Mariah said...

thanks for the encouragement this morning. i will take that extra mile today also. Mariah

Lorna said...

I loved the imagery you shared with your words and with the photos. I love all the little signs from nature, our animal friends along the way! It feels like we are never alone, our struggles are shared (bluebird) and our joy (dragonflies). Truly all one. Thank you!!!

Lee W - The Way I See It said...

It's amazing what we can "hear" if we take the time to really "listen." God works in mysterious ways. I can relate to the stuck feeling, and am glad you found the courage to take a step. I have been thinking of you, xoxo Lee

Lorna said...

I love how we are never alone when we are in nature; whether it's the bird when you are struggling or the dragonflies to celebrate your joy with you. It's all there! And the turtle...steady, steady, on its course, head still out of the shell willing to risk. Thanks for the sharing the pics with the story. Uplifting!

Angela Recada said...

Just found your blog. This post is incredible! I hope you find what you need.

Phillipa. said...

I loved this post, thanks for sharing and your photo's are so nice,I feel all warm and fuzzy now. thanks.