Several years ago, my husband and I drove to New Orleans to attend my cousin’s wedding. For whatever reason, we did not have anyone to pet-sit our beloved miniature dachshund, Lucy, so she joined us on our venture south. While driving to NOLA, we decided to stop by “the loveliest village on the plains.” My husband is a proud graduate of Auburn, and over the years, I have adopted his alma mater and its spirited traditions with great enthusiasm. Obviously, I could not resist stopping for some priceless photo ops of Lucy at some of the famous Auburn landmarks. We parked our car and let Lucy walk around the manicured grounds of Samford Hall while I wildly snapped pictures.
At this point in our story you should know one unique fact about Lucy: she is terrified of cars. She is so terrified of cars that she actually refuses to go on walks and hates being anywhere near moving traffic. Cars and busy streets are Lucy’s kryptonite.
As much as I was enjoying our family outing, poor Lucy was having a mild anxiety attack as cars were whizzing past her on College Street. Eventually we decided to walk back to the car, and knowing Lucy would have none of crossing the four lanes of traffic, I picked her up and started walking across the street. Lucy trembled and shook with every step across the street, and I leaned down and said, “Lucy, it is okay. I am not going to let anything happen to you.” As I said that, I realized my perspective of what was going on was very different from Lucy’s.
Lucy stands about eight inches off the ground. This is what the world looks like to Lucy…
With her four-inch legs, she feels every vibration and rumble. Wheels are huge and cars are so big they take up her entire sightline. Everything seems gigantic and overpowering. Everything seems intimidating.
By contrast, this is what I saw that day…
I could see much further. My viewpoint was much different. I could see farther down the road, if trouble was coming, and when it was going to pass. My perspective made it very easy for me to trust and believe that we were safe. Lucy’s perspective, on the other hand, was limited and narrow.
As we crossed the street, I thought how often am I like Lucy. How often are we all like Lucy? We only see what is right before our eyes, and it seems intimidating and scary. We feel totally overwhelmed by what we are facing, and sometimes we are sure it is going to overtake us. We fear being trapped and doomed to permanently reside in this place of uncertainty.
How often do we forget that we are not alone in our journey? How often do we try to rely on our own shortsighted vision and strength? It is so easy to be consumed with worry and fear. It is so easy to forget there is a bigger picture, a larger vision for our life that we cannot fully imagine. It is so easy to forget we are not alone, and we will not be left in our troubled, fearful state. Lo, I am with you always…
Your current heartache, although deeply painful, is a portion of your picture, but it is not the entire portrait of your life. You were not created to reside in the valley of your troubles; you were created to pass through the valley.
What would it be like today to trust that there is a bigger picture for your life that you cannot yet see?
How would your life be different if you believed you are not alone on this journey?
How would that type of hope change your life?