Friday, February 11, 2011

Do What's Next.

Ready for another quote from Mr. George MacDonald (are you beginning to see why he's one of my favorites?)?

"It is a happy thing for us that this is really all we have to concern ourselves with- what to do next. No man can do the second thing. He can only do the first. If he omits that, the wheels of time roll over him and leave him powerless behind. If he does it, he keeps in front and finds room to do the next thing and so is sure to arrive at something in due time."  (from The Tutor's First Love)

Do what's next. I have a little story about that.

Once upon a time, my husband and I took a trip to Whidbey Island. Lovely! One day, we decided to take the ferry over to San Juan Island. Visions of airy-island-meandering pranced about in my head...

something like this...

...only erase Diana, insert awesome husband, and give us both bicycles. That's what I envisioned.

Upon disembarking from the ferry, we discovered a bicycle rental shop, inquired of the owner as to routes, and were summarily sent on our way with maps in hand.

Want to see a map?

We began in Friday Harbor, and I can't quite remember what our ultimate goal was, because I soon became lost in a profound simple revelation: this map doesn't show the HILLS.


Now, there's something you should know. Although I love being outside and active, I am by no means a champion of hills when perched upon a bicycle. Especially when compared to my travelling companion, who has conquered all 5 mountain passes of the Death Ride.

Side note: The Death Ride is a one-day annual event, whose subtitle is "Tour of the California Alps." Doesn't that sound splendid? ...and yet... they (who are "they?") chose Death Ride to be the world-famous title of the event. Befuddlement abounds.

Back to the story. I probably don't need to elaborate any further in order for you to get the mental image of my ever-patient best fella waiting at the top of (multiple. consecutive.) hills as I heaved and weaved my way towards him. I remember arriving (breathless) at the top of one such ascent and joyfully announcing my  strategy of progress:

"Instead of trying to make it to the top of the hill, I find a landmark, like a stick or a rock, on the side of the road a yard or two ahead and try to  make it there. Then I pick another landmark, and so forth, and before I know it, I'm at the top of the giant precipice!"
OK. so it probably sounded more like this:
"(gasp for breath) Made it! (inhale wildly) Rocks and sticks! (sigh and grin in incoherent triumph, resting my case)."

We didn't make it to our lofty goal across the island, wherever that may have been, but we did find a nice lavender farm where we ate lavender cookies, drank lavender tea, wandered lavender fields, and (naturally) found a giant statue of pi.

Life lesson: I am sometimes ensnared by overwhelmed helplessness when I see a giant climb ahead in life. It seems impossible. But as George MacDonald said, all we have to do is take the next step.

And as discussed in this post of a few days ago, we have a guide who shows us, if we will but ask and listen, which step that is.

A few other borrowed words on the matter and I shall conclude:

"He's bigger than insurmountable! He defines impossible, and then does it! Yup. It's Jesus." -My sister.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." James 1:5


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