# 357: Walking

Strayed, Cheryl (2012). Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, 63.

Story behind the Passage

Sometimes you have conversations with people and you immediately know afterwards that they have changed your life. Sometimes you even know beforehand that this will happen. You sort of push for this because you are the one asking for this conversation. But then, as the date approaches, you would rather like to run away. But then, during the first minutes of the dialogue, you know that this is exactly the moment you need to be in. And you watch your conversation partner and know that this human being is seeing you from a perspective that hardly anybody else does. And you feel at home. Home in a person who shares the nourishment that not many people value nowadays. It is not merely intellectual, it is not merely spiritual or earthly. It is all of this and none of it at the same time.

As you can imagine, this is was happened today. I feel blessed and humbled and quite shaken. People always tell you that the things you are — consciously or unconsciously — looking for, do not exist. So, at some point, you stop looking, no matter how stubborn and enduring you are. Often, you do not even know what exactly it is you are looking for and where you should look. And then, all of a sudden, it is right there. You see it in the other person and the story he tells you. It is so amazing and so “normal” at the same time. It can happen any afternoon, anywhere. But it is uncomfortable too because you are seeing something that you also tried to run away from. You are longing for it but you also know that it is something that you never ever considered for yourself. It is practically unthinkable.

And yet, you know, it is where your path is leading.

In case you are wondering what the hell I am talking about — I will not tell you. I just cannot. It is too quick. But I will talk about something the person I talked to said in this conversation. At a certain point in his life, he made a decision and he still cannot explain what exactly it was that made him decide so. It was not out of need or necessity. He could have remained in the place where he was at the time. It was a place he treasured — he still treasures up to the present day. Still, he made a different choice and as he describes it now, he still cannot explain why — neither in rational, nor in merely emotional terms. So, the only answer he can give is that his “feet” made him walk this way. This is how he put it. He just kept walking….

My Learnings

“Each time I reached the place that I thought was the top of the mountain or the series of mountains glommed together, I was wrong.” Well, if you follow my (life) story — even my one-year blog — you will immediately understand how much I can relate to this. No matter how often I think that I have reached the top of the mountain or at least that I am getting closer to it, I discover that I am not nearly there. And even if I reach it, which I normally do, I see all these other mountain tops popping up around me. They do not show me that I am on the “wrong” mountain. No, there is no wrong or right mountain. There is just the mountain that your feet are standing on this very minute. But you had to get there in order to even see the others. And then you know where to go — maybe.

The problem with people who have feet that take them up these mountains is, they have this talent of really spotting the other mountains. Where some might just see fog, they clearly see the mountain that needs to conquered next. And then they put their shoes on and climb the next one. No mountain is too high, no river is too deep. They will do it. They are determined once again that this is the path. Sometimes, they might have drawbacks. But these drawbacks are healthy. This homelessness, this feeling of being lost, will also guide them further. And while they might think they will not reach the top anymore, they will because, even if their head is tired and their heart sobs, their feet will keep walking.

The only issue is that there are some mountains which you never ever considered for yourself. It is not that they are not pretty or interesting. Yes, of course, but they are just so not right for you — at least you think that because you always thought this way. Not only did you think this way, you even made fun of these mountains, you mocked them — you spoke of them in derogative terms. How shameful this feels the minute you realize that this is the mountain you should climb now and that it will be soo much higher than all of the others before. It will be rising up so high into the sky that you will not discover any new ones because you definitely know that you have found your home above the clouds. But even if you realize this:

You still have to walk it.

It might not be the walking itself that is difficult. You have all the muscles which you trained in endless competitions and you also have the intellect and mental capabilities to make your way. But the decision to do this will completely change your life. I mean, literally, everything: The people around you, the place where you live, the things you do on a daily basis. These things might be really banal but still, they make up your life. And there are also people you might lose if you follow this urge. But then, it is also very helpful to know that neither your head nor your heart will prevent you from making this decision. Your feet will take care of the job — they will keep walking.

“And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12)

Reflection Questions

1) Was there ever a point in your life when you made a decision but you cannot really explain why exactly you made this decision this way?

2) Which mountain are you climbing right now? What do you expect to find at the top?

3) Did you ever have the urge to go to a church and confess your sins? Can you imagine getting to this point in the future? Why/not?



Founder & CEO of Companypoets

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