I’ve been walking a lot around my town. Sometimes I walk to the library, sometimes to the grocery, sometimes through the metro park, ok and sometimes to the ice cream shop
I know these roads like the back of my hand. I know how long it will take to reach my destination. I like the comfort of knowing where I am and how to get home, everything is really familiar. The Camino is an unknown. Everyday will be a different path. Everyday will require making the same decisions but with different results.
Isn’t everything in life like that? Just when things seem in place something or someone new comes along. You meet a new person that you think you’d like to be friends with and you have to begin learning all the basics, testing the boundaries seeing what you have in common and if your differences add to or detract from the friendship. It’s a path fraught with uncertainty and feels uncomfortable.
It’s like eating Thai food for the first time. How hot is a number 3, and just what is in that sushi??? Should I use the chopsticks or ask for a fork and knife? Will I embarrass myself? For Pete’s sake I just want to eat. It shouldn’t be this complicated.
Robert Frost says in his poem The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
But even Frost says he only chose one path and can’t really compare the two.
Matthew. 14:28-33 tells us the story of Jesus walking on the water. I think of it more as the story of Peter walking on the water because let’s face it, this isn’t Jesus’ first miracle or even his first time walking on water. And it is about taking a really different path. So here’s the story…
Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’
I believe Peter has not really thought through the implications of his request.
He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat,
I’m sure that when Jesus told Peter to come, Peter looked over the edge of the boat and had an “Oh 💩” moment. He probably took some deep breaths and some not so gentle ribbing from the rest of the disciples in the boat. Maybe he even stuck a toe in the water to see if it was more solid than it looked. Well the story tells us that eventually he got out of the boat.
…and started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus.
But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’
I probably would have used saltier language. Then…
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’
Now many folks think of this as a condemnation that Peter has no faith. I prefer to think of it as a parent’s exclamation when a child is afraid taking her first steps…
So I learned a few things while writing and meditating on this post.
1. Life is filled with decisions.
2. You can follow the herd or forge your own trail. There’s nothing inherently good or bad about either choice.
3. If you get into trouble things will probably still work out ok. Don’t beat yourself up because others are rooting for you.
And I guess if I get lost on the Camino I can always wander around singing Lady Gaga songs until I’m found…