ONE MORE MILE
How’s it going? Has your week been a good one? Robert Frost had a beautiful line, “(I’ve) miles to go before I sleep /and miles to go before I sleep.” We’re all on a journey; some just beginning, some with many miles behind and a few ahead. When we realize that, we begin to look at people differently. With a few miles of our own under our feet, we can understand why life looks one way to the young and another way to the old.
Youth is impatient for life to begin, not knowing they are making it up as they go. Each milestone is eagerly awaited: “When I get big like Joey, I can go to school!” or
“Just let me get to Junior High and I’ll have it made.” Then, they come in bunches: First dates, High School, College or a job, work, marriage… “Then it will be OK.” “When the kids are grown up…” And the miles accumulate. There are bumps in the road, detours, broken bridges… and the miles stretch on ahead.
There comes a time when we look at where we are and we see the miles dropping away like pearls from a broken necklace. Where did the time go? When did our hair get white, our hands shaky and wrinkled? Did we do it right? Were our dreams what we thought they’d be? Did we measure up to what we thought life ought to be?
Sometimes we look at others and marvel at how they’ve shaped their lives. So successful, so content, so…so…. Everything we thought we should/would be. We are so often our own worst critics. And many times we decide we’ve failed at most things or done a substandard job of parenting, career, marriage, and just living in general.
But there is someone else watching, someone who knows us so well there is nothing hidden. He’s been there, walking beside us down the miles, lending the hand of a neighbor, the touch of a child, lifting our eyes to a spectacular sunrise. He is not judging our performance. He is not tallying up our score for future reference. He is just loving us, enjoying us, crying with us, and giving us strength when our own is gone. He knows the ones we admire and seek to emulate have their own troubles, sometimes hidden, but always there. He loves them, too. And He’s given us a wonderful promise. The miles do not end here on earth.
Gandalf has a wonderful line in Lord of the Rings. He’s talking to Pippin, a young hobbit who thinks they’re going to be killed. Pippin says, “I never thought it would end this way.” And Gandalf answers, “End? No, the journey does not end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey curtain of this world draws back and turns to silver clouds. And then you see it…white shores and beyond, the far green country.” What a beautiful picture Tolkien gives us. The road goes on into a beautiful place.
How’s it going? Whether your week’s been good or full of troubles, the road goes on. We’re all walking that road together. It’s called Life. Look around and see your neighbor. A smile, a word of friendship just might be the lift he or she needs to make it one more mile.