“Counter in a Clockwise World”

“Miss Gump…your boy is different.”

There’s been more than one occasion where I’ve felt just like Forrest Gump. Those tales will be told, I promise.

In what might be my all time favorite film, it always seemed like Forrest was going his own direction, following his own drumbeat…whatever. But somehow things always turned out okay for him. Joy and sorrow and courage and the love of an innocent soul in a dark and cruel world frame his tale. All according to a master plan or floating like a feather in the wind? “Maybe it’s a little bit of both” the simple sage intones and the tears flow down my cheeks every stinking time I watch this movie.

Today, I find myself asking an almost ‘Forrest Gump-simple’ question.

Am I going the right way?

While that may sound deep and poetic and more than a bit philosophical, it’s a practical question as well.

Most weekday mornings, you’ll find me crunching the gravel path of Thompsons Station Park. The perimeter is roughly a mile, with some open straightaways and some hills and almost-valleys, and some beautiful shaded areas too. I recently discovered some incredible over-the-hills-and-through-the-woods trails that kick my tail nine times out of ten.

My routine is again a simple one: drop Audra at school, go grab a quick breakfast at McDonalds, and then head to the park to walk off breakfast and all my spares. I’ll park, grab my phone and select some tunes, and…I’m off!

Maybe it was from my oh so brief track days in junior high, but I’ll start walking in a counter-clockwise direction.

Almost everyone I pass is heading in the opposite direction.

Is there a park rule about this? Am I weird? (Yes, but that’s another story)

I’m the youngest of seven, and have typically taken a contrarian stance through life in order to at least stand out from the throng. I know what you’re thinking: that’s a nice way of saying I was and am a spoiled brat. No comment…

As I head in the opposite direction of my fellow park walkers, I’ve noticed something else. Who will acknowledge you as they pass…and who will not.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a people person. This is incredibly surprising to me especially, by the fact I am terribly shy and insecure. I think music gave me the confidence to develop the ability to talk to whomever, and certainly the opportunities to do so. And so I walk each day, ready to engage if led to.

There are a few regulars at the park that have grown accustomed to seeing me stomp toward them and now give me at least a nod. One older couple actually wished me a good morning last week. Progress…

I have been rightly accused of seeing the fingerprints of God in the day to day, and in the art I both enjoy and create. Is my opposing perambulation a bigger picture of my life?

During the time I was a church tech director, I could only recognize the backs of people’s heads. Add to this the fact that I’m terrible with names only compounded the problem. So I have learned to at least attempt to overcome my fears and to flash a smile at the people I pass.

I try my best to live intentionally (a new Christian buzzword). If you could know the great struggles in my life and see how I caused most of them, and then tried to distance myself from the fallout, you’d know this is not the cake-walk I can easily portray it to be.

So today, I move counter to the chaos. It forces me to approach it head on. Steve Miller sings that ‘time keeps on slipping, slipping into the future…’ That is absolutely true.

Run from the things life throws in my path? No time for that. For every trial I cause and encounter, I know it will eventually pass me by. And I will smile and nod as I keep walking.

Am I going the right way?

I take each day one step at a time. I cross hills and pass through valleys. The days can be bright and the nights both dark and long. I pass through trial to trial, but ahead is Christ. I can see the path He has made. I see his fingerprints on every roadside marker. I see Him in the distance, beckoning me on.

I would recognize Him anywhere…from any distance.