Where’s that next stepping stone?
While I was pedaling on my bike through a workout one evening on our back porch, I had an epiphany as I was admiring the beauty of Spring. It was a piggy back thought to a draft of this post that I’d written weeks ago, so perhaps it was a God-spoken lesson for me. Frustration grows as we patiently wait for our landscaping crew to come finish their job including the stepping stones that would keep your feet off the muddy path. It’s been a month since they started and left the job incomplete. But, as I was pedaling, I couldn’t see the muddy path but rather my eyes were focused on the Rhododendron that bloomed under our old Japanese Maple tree. There is history here on our property and it’s obviously glowing and bringing life in our backyard. The bright pink Rhododendron and sprawling Japanese Maple were planted 40+ years ago and still showing signs of life even after a couple of beatings during construction. In fact, we had the Japanese Maple repaired recently. It was cracked at the trunk of a large branch. We built our house around these 2 plants and I want to save them for as long as they can possibly live. Oh, and I already forgot about those stepping stones that started out my frustration a moment ago.
How often do we walk through life wondering where the next stepping stone will be placed? We grow more impatient as we wait and frustration exacerbates as we search. Facing the unknown or not knowing our next steps, can activate almost any emotion on the spectrum. Today, as I wonder where my next stone is placed to continue my walk in life, I’m clueless. I’m stuck. I stare at our muddy path wondering where in the world are our stones?
Life in general is often out of our control. Sometimes, we don’t get to make decisions. We interview for jobs or maybe apply for an academic program or residency, but the final decision is not up to us. We certainly feel closer, anxious, and impatient in our waiting, but the day we get “that” call or “that” letter, it doesn’t always come with a yes or no box. We then can decide if we want to decline the offer, if that’s an option. Hearing a diagnosis of a health issue doesn’t often come with options either. While many health conditions can be preventable and/or treatable, the final outcome is not up to us. We can do everything right from eating healthy to exercising daily and still fall short somewhere. Maybe it’s genetic or maybe it’s unexplained. It doesn’t mean what we do is pointless because the effort takes us somewhere. But, sometimes we simply have no control. Other times, we face decisions that force our hand. Those BIG decisions can be things like, “Do we want to be parents?”
While for most couples, babies just happen…sometimes unplanned and sometimes, very well planned. Yes, the entire process is a miracle itself, but never did I anticipate that someday, my husband and I would need to make a decision on whether or not we’d like to become parents or how we’d like to become parents. Suddenly, we’re facing a multitude of options! Natural, natural with help, surrogate, invitro, fostering, adopting. So, options are good, right? Why am I clueless? WHERE ARE MY STEPPING STONES?
Sometimes, too many options overwhelm and consume us. I am one who doesn’t like many options and therefore, sends my thoughts into “I don’t know what I even want!” As I think about what’s next for me, for us, it’s an open book and I’m paralyzed. It is moments like these that I appreciate the waiting game. I appreciate my God carrying my weight. But, that next step…am I supposed to locate a stone so I can move forward? All the other times I faced the unknown, it seemed easy to just wait for God to light up my path. It’s called patience. Why is it so different this time? I have patience. I want what God wants for me and willing to surrender and wait again. But is that too easy now and am I being challenged in a new way to strengthen my faith?
While many of us may be stuck unsure of our next step, there is one thing that I know for sure…God knows when and where the next stepping stone will be placed. Perhaps he is molding the dust into stone giving us time to explore our faith. Giving us time to soak in the beautiful blessings around us, like the Rhododendron before we miss the bloom and the Japanese Maple before the roots whither.
Bible verse of the day: Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. ~ Psalm 27:14
Quote of the day: "Every human is under construction from conception to death." ~ Billy Graham