Not just plodding on
Two or three years ago I spent a couple of days with a group of old friends in the Lake District. Remarkably enough, it didn’t rain all the time. Not every day.
So one morning we went for a walk. Not a long trek, just a stroll round Rydall Water, taking the route above the north shore of the lake. The track wasn’t very steep, but rough enough with its ups and downs, stones and boulders, muddy puddles and slippery stretches. So we had to keep our eyes on where we were putting our feet. And of course we were busy talking, catching up as old friends do. Nineteen to the dozen.
As we walked and talked we realised that we needed to stop from time to time, stop to look around us. Stop, so that instead of focusing on the ground under our feet - we could pay attention to our surroundings. It would have been so easy to have done the whole walk and not noticed the view at all.
We needed to stop in order to ‘stand and stare’. Give our attention to the beauty all around us. But we also needed to lift our eyes beyond the things up close, so we could take in the bigger picture and the longer view. To look above and beyond the trees, to the hills and the distant mountains. To look back to where we’ve come from and forwards to where we are going.
Which is perhaps something we could all do more often: lift our eyes from the immediate problems under our feet, from the business of life, in order to see the bigger picture and take in the longer view. To look back to where we’ve come from and forwards to where we’re going. And maybe discover that God has been there all along.
Perhaps that’s what holidays are for.
Rector of Branston with Nocton and Potterhanworth