A highlight of our holiday in Luxembourg with our daughter and son-in-law has been the jaunts into the woodlands that surround where they live.
It's impossible to capture the lacy greens; the gracious heights; the exquisite lights and shades from the shafting sun; the almost surreal sense of peace and stillness.
This post is to help me keep the memories fresh.
There is a meditative quality about walking along in these surroundings, the only sound the soft shuffling ruffling of leaves under foot.
And so my thoughts run . . .
I have long felt that all of life is a parable
And walking like this is fraught with parable-ness.
As in: when I walk uphill, although I get breathless and my legs get tired, there is a sense of "grip", of purpose and intensity, that is lacking on the level and on the downhill slopes. My legs can feel their muscles; can feel that they are being strengthened by the demands made on them.
Which is hard, but, oddly, a good feeling.
I am also less likely to notice the surrounding beauty, being caught up in the difficulty of negotiating the path that lies in front of me.
As in life
It is the times when I go through trials; that I have to put my faith to work, so to speak, that I feel the traction, the reality of the course I have chosen.
Even as I struggle with emotions, and worries and confusion in the uphill-ness of my life, I sense growth and the solid reality of Christ.
It is also true, I think, that I am often oblivious of good things around me when I am contending with overwhelming circumstances.
Who notices beautiful scenery when your child is ill or your husband loses his job?
As in: when the path is level or downhill, there is a looseness in my walk: my muscles feel weaker
They don't have to make the effort so my tread is not as firm and decisive as when I have to put my back into it.
Downhill, when all seems so easy, is actually when I am in the most danger.
I can more easily go too fast, get ahead of myself, and land on my face.
I can feel over confident, not realising that I am at my most vulnerable.
As in life
When things are relatively trouble free, or more intensely, when everything is going wonderfully well, is when I am at my most vulnerable.
I feel strong and in control
I become self confident, cocky, and forget that I have put my life in bigger hands.
Or I think I don't need Him right now because "Life is a piece of cake. I have it all in hand."
When I do this, it will not be long before I fall on my face one way or another.
This picture is taken looking up into the tree tops.
I was completely surrounded by trees and they formed a canopy over my head.
They made me feel as though I were being embraced by them, enveloped by them in their gracious greenness.
So I set myself to keep looking up, knowing myself loved, knowing that the uphills have purpose and will pass
That I am strengthened by them, and helped through them
Learning to be watchful on the downhills
To enjoy them but not allow myself to trip over my own self confidant feet
These are some of the things that have formed in my thoughts