February 16, 2019: Footprints on our Souls
“Do not be afraid to travel a new path; It may be the way to find what you’ve been looking for all along.” Anonymous
Last Thursday was Valentine’s day, a holiday dedicated to the love in our lives. During dinner that night, my husband Ron and I reminisced on how we met almost 22 years ago; and fell in love while hiking all 48 of New Hampshire’s highest mountains. Our first meeting was an example of fortuitous serendipity. At that point in my life, I was teaching full time, single parenting three children, finishing my master’s degree and managing a Little League baseball team. My array of spinning pie plates was full and I really couldn’t juggle any more. Yet, a new path opened up when I accepted an invitation to a local concert by my best friend Liz and her husband. At first I declined, as I was exhausted. But then I thought about how I love music and spending time with them was always fun and relaxing. I had just finished my thesis the day before and decided I had earned the time to celebrate with them. I cancelled the plans I originally had made, changed my clothes and headed off to the concert. Long story short; I met my husband Ron on our way out of the concert. After a difficult divorce, I was not really interested in a new relationship. But an invitation to go hiking with him, led to an increased appreciation for being in the mountains and back into nature. Hours on the trail gave us valuable time to learn about each other, create a trusted friendship and eventually fall in love.
A few years later, I had an epiphany about the paths we travel. This came on the day when Ron dropped me off at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, to take a weeklong course in nature drawing. The setting on the Maine coast was absolutely beautiful and I was both excited and nervous about facing a week of uninterrupted time to observe, draw, paint and write about nature. But after all the years of busyness and responsibility, it was truly a gift of time. As I was sitting there, accompanied by the soothing song of the waves, I realized that all my experiences that had preceded this day, had led me to this very spot. It was a profound moment to realize that all of the paths I had taken, joyful as well as painful, had ultimately led me there. The week gave me the courage to explore both drawing and painting…two activities I now love to do.
Six years later changing beliefs and politics in our school system, led to the decision to leave a career I loved, to take on the uncertain path as a jewelry designer. A path that Ron, later joined and discovered his own joy and talent as a silversmith.
This path has taken us on adventures we never dreamed about, brought people into our lives who have enriched them, and ultimately taught us to value all of our experiences, good and bad, because they have brought us to where we are now and a life we are so grateful for having.
When I was looking for a quote to begin this week’s blog, I also found this one to be especially poignant.
“Everyone has their own path. Walk yours with integrity and wish all others peace on their journey. When your paths merge, rejoice for their presence in your life. When the paths are separated, return to the wholeness of yourself, give thanks for the footprints left on your soul, and embrace the time to journey on your own.” Anonymous
In reflection of a holiday that is centered on love, I am thankful for all of the people who have traveled with me on various paths, some for only a few brief moments, others for years, but especially for the gifts and lessons of compassion, encouragement, friendship, humor, insights, laughter and wisdom that I now carry with me on the paths I choose to follow.