What are the roadblocks in our path? If we stop and think about it, we all have something in our life journey that is trying to hold us back.
What is your obstacle? What is mine?
'You strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do, determined to save the only life you could save.' Mary Oliver (1986 from 'The Journey In Dream Work')
I love to keep my eyes open to lessons that unfold on any given day. I try to stay watchful for any hindrance that is keeping me from achieving my dreams.
I don’t think I realized a current life obstacle until this past week when I traveled to the The John C. Campbell Folk School, on my 35 mile commute to my week-long writing class. The twice daily, one-hour commute from Lake Blue Ridge to Brasstown, North Carolina, on curvy four-lane highways gave me plenty of time to think.
Tuesday morning, I was on the road again, when five minutes later, I encountered a large fallen pine tree in the woods, left behind by a hailstorm from the night before. I definitely had an obstruction before me, an obstacle to prevent me from arriving to my class on time.
“Wow!”, I said to myself! “What now?” I knew there was no way around the fallen tree, and since this was the only way out of the woods, I headed back home and made a fresh pot of coffee. 6:30 a.m. was too early to call for help, so I sat down to work on a writing assignment that had been especially challenging for me: “A Heart Metaphor”. Soon, I was able to reach my friend, Butch Davenport, a retired firefighter and he came on over with a chainsaw. The towering tree was no longer in my path. And my heart metaphor was complete! I was only 1/2 hour late for my Tuesday class.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6
Later, waiting for the lunch bell, my new friend Chris Todd, a glass blowing student and I talked about the fallen tree story. We explored about the analogy comparing this to obstacles in our life journey. From an earlier conversation, I knew Chris worked with the Maryland Park Service.
A particular remark of his resonated with me. “You know, Joan, we can’t just keep going ’round and ’round the tree.”
Chris went on to explain that when a tree falls in the forest, hikers continue on their way by walking around it. Because the rangers worked hard to keep every trail maintained, a new path being made by boots going around a tree, presented a new problem for them. He said while it is not always possible, it’s much better to remove the tree, the obstacle, before continuing on.
I’ve been musing and working on a book about lessons my Mama taught me, and as I drove carefully my thoughts returned to the fallen tree from before dawn that same morning.
I came to recognize that I had developed a good bit of fear regarding my project. What if I never completed it? What if it wasn’t very readable? What if no one liked it? What if ________________. Fill In The Blank!
As I passed over the North Carolina state line, the distance between me and the school growing less, I began to admit to myself this fear had become an obstacle for me and I was the only one who could do something about this barrier in my life journey as a blossoming writer.
This tree on the property of the school reminds me of a “fork in the road”, which is where I am now:
Would I face my fear and get busy with my much-loved project? OR Would I stay busy doing other things and simply say to myself, “I am too busy to complete this book about my Mama and her lessons!”
As the week comes to a close, I know which fork I will be choosing! Cheers to my book work that is ahead of me!
What obstacles might be in your path? What is keeping you from reaching your dreams? Let’s do this together. Let’s Go For It!
“If it is meant to be, it is up to me.”
William H. Johnsen
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