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Walk This Way

As I walked down the snowy path with a sycamore stick in my hand, I tapped each arched limb and freed heavy snow from the many bent branches. One by one, the little trees sprang to life. The weight of the sticky snow came flying off with just the slightest tap of my “wand.” It was a magical, clear afternoon just a day after our first big snow in Virginia and I felt somehow like I had “the Midas touch.”

As I made my way down the path, my hood and my boots filled with snow, but I didn’t care. All of a sudden a barely known quote came to me: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

Not the whole quote – mind you – but the jist of John Wesley’s saying bounced off the walls of my heart as I watched the forest ‘unbend’ so to speak.

Of course, all the trees did not fare so well. And neither did the cars on 95, I heard, but the truth of that quote came to me – just because I can’t help all the trees in the forest, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t help the ones that I can.

Wonderful stories came out of that big car pile-up on I95 near Fredericksburg. Some folks were stranded overnight and many got out of their cars to help one another. Again that quote came flooding back to me as I read the news and I thought: what if we all set out every day to do just that: help where we can? Why does it have to take a snowstorm or worse, a serious problem, for us to do what we were made to do – care.

Earlier that same day my mom had asked me a question: Do you think God plans out your life? (Let me preface this by informing you that she is nearing the end of her life and she was reading a Christmas card that referenced said plan.)

I thought about the trees and the accidents and the mayhem of the day, the year. The last couple of years. I remembered loved ones lost to COVID and cancer. I was tempted to dismiss the enormity of the question because in so many ways, if I believe God does plan lives, I must admit that His plan sometimes sucks.

The truth is that many of the older trees buckled under the weight. Many snapped. Some uprooted. Just like with those we love, life can often be cut short.

But to limit God’s plan to what we see on this side of eternity, is missing the whole picture. I DO believe that God plans our lives and that His plan is good. Time shows us how problems work out and how setbacks get turned around. In the wake of Christmas, we are reminded that the plan for God’s son was not one of ease and comfort, but rather one of hardships and stress. If we focus simply on his birth in what was likely a cold, smelly manger, we are reminded that life does disappoint if we see only the here and now.

There is more. So much more than we can comprehend, but I know God calls us His “workmanship.” He made us on purpose. While his plan may remain a mystery, I trust that I can experience it by choosing to care and to help and to do good to the people and planet around me, as it says in the passage from Ephesians 2:10 – “For you are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

The plan is to care. The plan can be as big or small as you make it. It might involve snowstorms and heartache, but those stresses don’t prevent us from walking in good works – in fact, they likely set the stage for a dramatic bounce back.

This is my first blog of 2022 and I’d like to propose that we all have what someone else needs – even if it’s simply a smile or an ounce of patience or a helping hand. I know the pandemic has made it harder to connect in many ways. And I know that sudden stress reveals the weaknesses in all of creation. But let us not let burdens bend us down while there is still good to be done and love to be shared.

We might not know what it means on this side of heaven, but the very act of caring for others will ring in eternity.


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