I was walking back to school on a kindergarten field trip when I realized that my classmates were ahead of me. Panicked, I whirled my head around so fast that strands of dandelion-colored hair lashed my face. My fears were confirmed. I was the last of my peers; only the chaperones were lulling behind. I darted forward to catch up but somehow tumbled over myself, landing face first on the sidewalk.
I remember the sting on my hands and knees from the fall. The scabs on my face lasted for weeks before they faded into a bad memory. More than anything, I remember that feeling of being left behind.
In some ways, I still feel like that five-year-old girl, always trailing the pack, never on pace. Too often I feel like my life is not my own. I am pulled here and there by needs greater than my own ambitions. And I get frustrated. I wonder when it will be my turn. I think tomorrow will be different and the anomalies of today will pass and the plans I make can prosper.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
I am glad God knows His plans for me but sometimes I think maybe He should clue me in to them. After all, I am having a lot of interruptions in my plans and so maybe I am on the wrong plan. Maybe I could finally get ahead if I knew where He was leading. I would follow, God. I promise I would. It would be easier, though, if You could give me some direction, some yellow brick road so I can get out of this traffic jam to nowhere.
But then I recall that terrible fall in kindergarten when I was desperate to keep up and humiliated to have fallen so far behind. I am reminded that my urgency to run forward is what landed me on my face. I couldn’t see then that while I wasn’t where I thought I should be I was still on the right path. I was safe and before I noticed where I wasn’t, I was happy with where I was. In my own world, experiencing it at my own pace, I was at peace with the present. I wasn’t looking forward or back. I was free.
I remember something else about that day. That when I fell, the people that moments before seemed so far ahead and so far behind, huddled around offering me comfort. They reminded me that I was never as alone as it seemed.
So although my life feels circuitous like a maze and obstacles slow my intended pace I trust that God has me on the right path.
Remembering that, I don’t feel a need to run.
Copyright 2018 Lara Patangan