Friday, December 27, 2013

Travel Unencumbered

Notice Foxy's fixation on something;
hence, the leash...always!

The other day was unseasonably warm, so we decided it would be a great day for a walk/hike. The park at Natirar is where we walk/hike. It's a loop, and has a clearly defined wide walking path. It's not in the woods, and the loop is slightly less than 2 miles, so I don't classify it as a hike. It's not quite a walk in the neighborhood, so it's not a walk either---thus, a walk/hike.

At any rate, the dogs were antsy because of the warm weather, so it was a good idea. They were so enjoying themselves, that they seemed to be prancing! Frolicking was the word that came to my mind. Foxy even leaned over and kissed Lucy, an abnormal act of kindness. I actually felt bad that they had to be on leashes. Lucy kept breaking into a trot, then would be pulled back. I wished that I could just let them off their leashes and let them run. I thought, "Well, if Psycho Dog liked people, and could be trusted, we could do that. There's almost no one around."

Almost no one around and no one around are not quite the same thing. As we got about halfway around the loop, we encountered several people-mostly dawdlers, people who are just out for a stroll. People who had no real purpose that day; who were just out because the weather was so nice. 
Notice the water bottle in the hand of the woman
on the right...and her purse

You can tell the difference between serious walker/hikers and strollers. Walker/hikers take large strides and walk with a purpose. They don't walk in clumps or in large groups. They don't chat. They take a water bottle on a 5 mile hike, but not on a short loop. Strollers take their time, pausing to react to something said in a conversation. They dress inappropriately, either too many clothes or not enough. They often wear the wrong shoes. They carry a water bottle on a 1.5 mile loop and their purse. Who carries a purse when they hike? What do they think they'll need? Lipstick? Credit cards? Money for souvenirs? 

This prompted a discussion between Brian and me. He asked if I was going to use this for a blog. I asked him what the subject would be and he said, "Purses for Jesus?" I asked him, "If Jesus walked the earth today, do you think he'd carry a murse?" (That's a man-purse, for those of you who don't know. The term also applies to a male nurse, but I don't think Jesus would carry one of those). Brian thought probably not. Jesus would be too cool, we decided. Maybe a backpack, off one shoulder, not both.  "Actually," I said, "Jesus didn't really have needs, like we do. I don't think he would have carried anything. Or, he would have his people carry what he needed."

"His people?" 
"His disciples. His followers. They would see to all his needs. He would travel unencumbered."

Oh my gosh, we'd turned into strollers! We were conversing! We'd slowed down the pace! 

We quickly returned to our walker/hiker status and stopped talking. But I continued to think about that. I thought about Jesus feeding the multitudes. Did they have provisions in their backpacks? No! The food was provided by a young boy who had five small barley loaves and two small fish. Jesus gave thanks, and the disciples passed out the food. After everyone was fed, they even had leftovers! This is not a man who needed a murse! Or a backpack. He traveled unencumbered. 

When is the last time you took a vacation without a thousand bags and five bicycles attached to your car? When is the last time you left your house feeling like the weight of the world was not on your shoulders?

I think God would like to show us how to travel unencumbered. Yes, we need homes, jobs, food, water, and unfortunately, money. Money helps us to attain these things in order to survive and live comfortably. But it can also become an encumbrance. We can all learn from Jesus what it means to live unencumbered. What it means to you may be different from what it means to me. I don't try to give advice, but this one is necessary: Next time you take a hike, leave your purse in the car. Travel unencumbered.

Blessings Along the Path,

Song of the Day: Jehoveh-Jireh, My Provider

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