I’m writing this in the middle of an April snowstorm in Denver. We have 8 inches of wet snow, coating every surface and breaking tree branches all over town. How can Denver have all that snow this late in the season? Well, don’t ask me. Ask God! It happens almost every year.
A neighbor rang my doorbell this morning in the midst of the storm to let me know that a tree limb had fallen on my car parked in the street. He left footprints on the driveway and sidewalk to and from my front door. On my way to check on my PT Cruiser, affectionately called Petey, I stepped in those footprints, avoiding mounds of snow. Fortunately, all the snow on Petey protected him from damage.
Footprints show us where others have walked before us. They’ve maneuvered difficult terrain and blazed a trail for us to follow. This is true whether in snow, in a forest, up mountains, or through fields. If we step where they once walked, we can get through whatever we’re facing because someone else has gone before.
When I was a child, I thought I was the only one in the whole world who endured abuse. My dad was an expert at hiding his transgressions and frightened me into silence. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned that my siblings suffered as well but were also intimidated. Once we started talking about it, I discovered that others had been in similar circumstances.
There’ve been many other instances where I thought I was the only one. Paying my own way through college. Being away from family for the holidays because it was too far to travel for a couple of days. Enduring a caesarian section to give birth. Going through divorce. Watching a son make poor decisions and living with the consequences. Losing a husband to cancer.
But I’ve come to realize that not one of these life events was new, although each one was new to me. Many others have gone through the same things and so many more. I don’t have to be alone in my distress.
One way to move beyond bad circumstances is to see footsteps on the crooked path I’m walking and put my feet in the same places. Instead of forging a new road, I can step where others have already walked, making my stride easier.
Since my husband’s death, I’ve learned that 70% of women will be widowed at least once in their lives. Lots of other women have walked that road and left footprints for me to follow. Some have written books about it; others have spoken about it; and some close to me have come alongside to point the way. I only needed to find them.
You can find the same help. If you’re in the middle of a difficult road, look around. You may find that others have paved the way for you. All you need to do is find their footprints and walk in them, step by step.
Photo “Path at a Snowy Lake” courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen at freedigitalphotos.net.