Which way should I go?
Words that should be tattooed across my forehead. A green light for others to freely offer guidance.
We’re all born with a weakness.
One of my greatest - no sense of direction. No internal compass.
An interesting weakness due to the amount of time I spend far from civilization. Hiking and biking in the Arizona desert and the higher elevations and canyons in Utah.
I can get into trouble. Fast.
Fortunately for me there are others who take the time to assemble a signal. Something that says, “You’re on the right track. Keep going this way …”
A heap of stones set up as a landmark. A communication of sorts in the middle of nowhere.
My husband and I love to blaze new and different trails. Sometimes we find ourselves questioning whether we are on the right path. He’ll whip out a variety of things with GPS function. He knows better than to ask me what I think. And I know better than to voice any kind of delusional opinion.
Unless, of course, I see a cairn.
With confidence I can then confirm that we are on the right path.
The purpose of a cairn is to mark a path that is difficult to see. Something that says “keep moving forward” or “yes, it feels like you are lost, but you are not.”
But it’s not a neon sign with blinking lights and whistles.
Just a quiet, simple heap of stones. Easily missed if you’re not paying attention.
How often in life do we wish for a sign?
Which way should I go?
In a marriage. Education options. Career choices. And oh those years raising teenagers …
Decisions and directions that are critical in mapping our mission. Our purpose. And that personal map will influence others around us. Those we love.
The responsibility can be daunting, lonely, and dispiriting.
But there are cairns.
Placed in quiet places along our path.
These cairns come in all forms.
A song. A conversation with a good friend. A scripture. An unexpected meeting. A strong thought that commands our attention and quietly pulls on our senses.
Cairns which encourage and uplift. Confirming that He applauds a good decision.
Cairns that cause us to stop. Ponder. Pull our chin up and see another way.
And cairns that simply send a tender message. Help us to know that we matter.
And just like the pile of stones on the side of the trail, they can easily be missed.
We must ask for them. Look for them. And listen with our heart.
I recently spent a weekend in Flagstaff, Arizona. Driving through a neighborhood I saw a sight which was so curious that I stopped my car and pulled over. Walked to the front door and knocked. I wanted to know the meaning behind this unusual décor for a front yard. What did it mean?
Randy, the homeowner, was happy that I noticed. “I like to stack rocks. No glue. Just a lot of patience and attention.”
For Randy it represents beauty and balance. As the winds pick up, a few will fall over. So he finds the time and makes the effort to readjust and assemble once again.
I asked Randy if he had learned anything in his new hobby.
“Yes,” he said. “Patience, practice and persistence.”
I shook my head in agreement.
Lessons that we all learn on those winding paths in our lives. Unexpected paths. Necessary paths.
Lined with cairns.