I recently found out from my doctor that I should avoid road running. When I repeat this I often add things to his words; marathons, long distance, and extended, however Cherry is quick to remind me that his words were simple and direct. Since his pronouncement, memories of fun running adventures keep replaying in my mind. One is a scene set at Skyline Manor in New Jersey.
Skyline Manor is an 19th Century estate pretending to be a state park. The old manor house sits on a ridge overlooking part of the Appalachian Trail. Surrounding the house are beautiful orchids, gardens and long rectangular fish ponds. The ponds cascaded themselves across the hillside with a small waterfall reconciling the change in terrain at each end. Framing each pond is a series of irregular slate tiles, laid out as a mosaic.
We often got together with friends during the summer, hanging out in the shade by the ponds catching the breezes that swept up and over the hillside. One challenge that frequently came up was a race on either side of the pond requiring one to step on only one tile with each foot. Whoever completed the length first was the winner. Initially we were slow and methodical; after a bit of practice we knew how to balance our steps and yet get across the stones at full speed.
What made the difference?
The first was choice. As one understood the competing goals and was aware of everything that could be applied, the ability to accomplish what initially seemed impossible increased. Understanding the impact of the decisions actually made the decisions easier.
Second, purpose. On the first attempt one invariably steps on two tiles at one time. You knew it instantly because of the uneven pressure on your shoe. Making mistakes actually became a fun learning experience.
Third, letting go. I always need to be in control. Winning required me to let go and flow.
God invites us to do the same.
“The wise watch their steps and avoid evil; fools are headstrong and reckless.” (Proverbs 14.16)