One of the most terrifying things about being blind, is the sizes and number of obstacles lurking out there just waiting for the chance to take you out. Pillars in hallways, street signs, holes in the road and let's not forget the kid who parked his bike right in front of your door. These are all things I've tripped over or banged into while trying to maneuver in my world.
The best one though, was just a few weeks ago...
My youngest son is in the 4 th grade. His class was going on a field trip to Snow Canyon State Park. This park is just a few miles from our home and is a beautiful conglomeration of lava cliffs, sand drifts, caves, and wildlife, all connected by narrow trails through the canyon. When my baby wanted me to go on the field trip with him, I of course, told him I'd be there. His teacher, was a little worried. She sent me an e-maial, letting me know about the rough terrain, the length of the hike we would be taking, and a narrow section with a sheer drop off. My husband, became worried as well.
"There are places in the park that if you take one wrong step, you'll go over a drop-off of about 50 feet."
By this time my 9 year old is worried.
"I'll hold your hand, Mom. I won't leave you."
I, of course, was even more determined to go. Don't tell me I can't do something, because I'll go do it just to prove you wrong.
So, on a lovely Thursday Morning, I walked to School with my son, boarded the bus with a couple of my friends, and made it to the park. After a learning portion, where the park rangers taught the kids about how to use the local plant life the way the Anazazi Indians did, we set out on our hike.
My son is just a kid and he soon forgot his promises to stay with me. Using my cane I made it a good way up the trail enjoying the smells, the descriptions, and chatting with my girlfriends. As the trail got rockier, my friend Laura, took my arm and began helping me over the worst parts. Another friend of mine, Kourtnee, carrying her two year old in a backpack, made sure I had enough water and food. We did pretty good until we reached a section of the hike that was down hill, had a steep drop-off on one side, and was slick under foot. At this point, one of the dads who'd come on the hike, took one arm while Laura took the other and we made it, very slowly down the slope.
It was a lot of fun. We walked through a cave, smelled sage, Old Man Lace, and lemonade bushes; without a single obstacle taking any of us down.
We were all hot and tired as we returned to the school but it was a fun experience. As we all stood around, the kids going back to class, the parents heading for their cars, I began to cross the play ground to the fence where i would return home. My cane caught on a metal bench, tripping me, and I fell.
Both my shins were banged on the bench, one of them bloodied. I scraped the back of my knuckles on the concrete, and I had two gigantic lumps which turned to bruises on my legs.
I've told this story a few times, because I think its so funny that I managed to traverse a dangerous hike through Snow Canyon, but I couldn't walk across the playground.
Its the cold hard truth, though. When our lives become treacherous, full of rocks, dark caves, and sheer drop-offs, its then we slow down, get help and support and we use all our friends, family and even strangers to get us through.
When we are cruising along, not a worry in the world, and our focus is on a million different, unimportant things; we fall.
Our lives are so busy. Chasing more money, more power, a better body, more attention, or just more. We don't focus on our simple steps. We don't find Christ in the beauty we have all around us. We don't hear the laughter of children who only need a puddle of water to make them happy. We don't savor a fresh peach, or a juicy apple because there isn't enough time for things like that.
My Dad told me when I was a teenager something I've never forgotten. I haven't always done it, because I'm one of those people who is always chasing my next dream. My Dad said-"If you focus on what's important, and right in front of your face, you won't be taken down by the herd of elephants on the horizon."
I laughed at the picture that painted but the simple truth of those words have never left me. Some of our dreams and responsabilities are important. Some of them are just band-aids to cover our wounds from falling down. Focusing on the things that really matter takes discipline, and it means taking your eyes off other prizes. However, when one of your 'little things' grows up, leaves home, or is gone from your busy life. It just might take you down.