I almost turned back.
But the snow fell thick, like anticipation.
And the, big, heavy flakes time-machined me back to childhood days when daydreaming rendered all things possible. So I trudged on through the silent streets where neighbors had not yet cleared sidewalks. Six inches of snow made for a challenging powerwalk with my pygmy sized legs, and I guessed my walking trail would be too difficult to naivigate. I intended to get a short walk in though, maybe to the the place where I typically joined the trail, and then turn around. As I neared the spot, a gentleman with hair and a beard that blended with the falling flakes heaved shovelfuls over his shoulder – with much greater ease than I had done earlier. He paused his work and waved. I grinned and waved back.
My thoughts moved much faster than my legs. I prayed for the homeless who might not have the luxury of a Lands End arctic weather coat, or spicy sweet potato soup to fill their bellies.
I gave thanks for the blue, fur lined boots that I have worn for the last 7 winters; boots I carried back to Colorado alongside the grief when my mom passed away.
I wondered what a random passerby might think if I dropped to the ground right there and created a snow angel.
I was so lost in thought as I climbed the tiny incline to my walking trail that I didn’t notice at first.
Someone had gone before me.
Instead of the thick layer of snow I was anticipating, the trail was cleared. Plowed. Someone had gone before me. And in doing so, my plan to take a few photos of the beauty and return home immediately changed. I continued on.
Someone had gone before me, making the trail an easy walk, even with heavy boots. With a happy heart I quickened my pace. An icicle hung from my hair, and my glasses were so fogged up I couldn’t capture the brilliance in its entirity. I didn’t mind.
I’m not t ashamed to admit I danced a little. I belted out mostly correct lyrics, off key, with the worship music on my headphones. I could barely contain all of the emotion, the pure delight at being alive at this very moment, to be out beneath such glory and magic, to be walking along my snow-plowed path. The stunning beauty, and peace of God’s creation eclipsed the ugliness, deparivity, and upside-downness that has permeated the United States right now.
Hope skipped alongside me.
And it dawned on me that I was reveling in this moment because someone had gone before me, clearing a path, making my morning walk a little sweeter.
Gratitude flooded my mind. Names and images of people who have gone before me and clearing the way gave me pause.
So many people.
Children who encourage and inspire me.
Friends who lift me up in prayer, bless me with unexpected gifts.
A co-worker who recently helped me with a project to get a book brailled.
A husband of 32 years, who has filled the tank in my car for the last 25, who partners with me in everything from cooking to hiking, all the while encouraging and bringing laughter.
A stranger who stops his labors to wave good morning.
City workers rising early to plow paths.
Doctors, neighbors, teachers, mentors offering kindness and wisdom.
Authors, photographers, artists, activists, apologists, worship leaders, and inventors sharing inspiration and truth.
So many people are still going before me, making my daily journey better and allowing me to walk further than I anticipated. They plow paths and remove obstacles. They share their stories, their questions, their answers.
I am grateful.
As a believer, I am most grateful to the One who not only knows me intimately, but has goes before me, preparing the way.
Isaiah 45:2 I will go before you and will level the mountains ; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.3 I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.