I saw an amazing thing this morning after I dropped my sweet girl off at school. On a busy street corner (really, one of the busiest in town) two men stood in conversation. One of them wore sunglasses, carried a distinctive walking stick, and stood staring straight ahead. The other man stood directly behind him, talking in a low voice into his ear.
It quickly became obvious to me what was happening. The first man was blind, perhaps newly so. The second man was teaching him…guiding him…escorting him.
As hundreds of cars whizzed past, rustling their coats in their wake and making them speak more loudly to one another, they continued in their discussion. They were still standing on the corner when the light changed and I, too, drove on past.
I was really struck by what I had seen. One pair of working eyes. Two confident men.
Had I been standing, eyes closed, on that street corner, knowing I was about to have to step off the safety of the sidewalk into the intersection where all of the noise was coming from, I would have been terrified. The blind man, though, seemed at ease. He could not see what was happening, but because his friend was there with him, he was comfortable. If he was nervous, it didn’t show. He knew he was taken care of. Though his eyes were on another person, he trusted them. He knew they would take care of him and would keep him from danger. He knew it, and it showed.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way. Walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21)
Lately, I’ve felt a little like the blind man, but I’m afraid my demeanor hasn’t always shown utmost confidence in the One guiding me. I have stood on one of the inevitable street corners of life, shaking in my boots…trembling at the thought of stepping forward…rattled to the core by every rumbling truck and racing car that goes by. The wind behind every passing vehicle has shaken me and distracted me from listening. All I can think about is how close they seem to be passing by…how the spray from their tires is getting me all messed up…how silly I must look standing here doing nothing.
I’ve been in a place of decision, and rather than move forward, straight ahead or to the right or to the left, I have chosen to stand frozen.
The thing is, though, that the longer I stand here, the more scared I become.
I have been hurt, and the longer I stand here, the more convinced I become that I will be hurt again.
I have lost friends, and the longer I stand here, the more alone I feel.
I have been disillusioned, and the longer I stand here, the more I doubt the things I know that I know that I know.
I do have a voice behind me, though. Between passing cars and splashes from puddles and gusts of wind, I can hear Him.
“Forgive. Move on. Take that step. Allow yourself to heal. I’ve got this, and I just need you to trust me. Do you trust me? Do you really? Then step off the curb. Take that step.”
I have lots of arguments:
“But I don’t know what’s coming…how can I trust you…I thought I could trust them…I don’t know anything anymore…it’s all such a mess…it hurts so badly…I’m scared…”
And then, over and over, I hear Him saying into my ear one resounding truth. Maybe He only says it once. Maybe it echoes in my ears because of its truth.
“If you keep standing here, you’re going to keep getting hurt by the same things. You won’t be able to move on unless you step into the way of forgiveness.”
And how right that is. I will keep getting hit by flung mud from the same nasty puddle if I stay here. Nothing will change. If I take a step, though, my scenery will change. I may not be able to see where it will take me, but the voice behind me says it will be better than where I am now. It has to be. Anything has to be better than where I am now.
I believe the voice behind me. I choose to trust, and I choose to take the step. I raise my foot to take a step…and put it back down.
“It’s okay. Anger gets you nowhere. Forgive. Forgive. I’ll take care of everything. Unforgiveness will kill you. Let it go. Walk.”
And so I do. I step off. My heart is racing and my feet creep forward and the wind slaps me in the face. It hurts a little to move, and I’m scared of what I can’t see. The voice remains behind me, though.
“Everything is okay. Keep going. I am here.”
One step. Then another step. Then another. I keep going. I haven’t reached the other side…I wonder if I ever will reach a point of not hurting and of complete healing…but I’m closer than I was. I chose to take a step, and things steadily improve. I chose to move. I chose to listen to the voice behind me. I made a choice to forgive, and in moving on, I find life.
This is the way. This is the way, and I must walk in it. I must. It is scary, but it is the only way. I just have to do it.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)