Within 45 of minutes of punching that gleaming “publish” button on yesterday’s post, I dug out an old beat-up pair of sneakers (ok, fine, honesty police — I had someone tall and useful dig them out for me. Happy now?) and took to the road for a 30 minute walk, having concluded that perhaps a change in exercise type would be the key to dislodging my 20 pound Wilson. Do both of us a favor and don’t try and picture where on my person I might be stashing such an object. Sleep is too dear to gamble with like that.
The day was moderate, and we had even enjoyed a decent rain, so I strode forth, headphones blaring my favorite podcast, into the great unknown — otherwise known as half a mile down the road to the flower stand that always inexplicably has elaborate memorials cluttering up the telephone pole adjacent to their driveway. I am not intending to rain criticism on the grief of another. Heck, I have been known to go out and buy olive green suede mules while grieving — there are no rules about these things. But eventually, you start to drive nervously around this corner, because based on the quantity of the fake flower wreaths and mylar balloons, an awful lot of people have met with an untimely end (or was it? Do we believe in the sovereignty of God or don’t we?) while careening towards a reasonably priced bundle of dahlias. All things considered, maybe not a bad way to go, but still, it gives me pause.
Honestly, I don’t know how bicyclists do it. They hog the entire road while wearing absolutely ridiculous outfits (we’ll get to what I was wearing, but suffice to say, it wasn’t spandex), slow up 45 cars and semi trucks behind them, half of whom will take the plunge and go whipping around that sleek package of Spandex, and they don’t appear to cry or hyperventilate or crash. I walked nearly 2 feet away from the road and about had a heart attack every time a vehicle passed, which was roughly every 3 seconds.
I thought perhaps the key was to troll along the side roads, and even started down one when I realized 2 important things.
- I am a middle aged woman with a determined stride, wearing jeans and dangly earrings while exercising. Any serial killer worth his salt would take me on the way that diabetics take on Twinkies — it isn’t really a decision. When I tried later to explain this theory to the family, they scoffed that serial killers want a challenge, and I am demonstrably not one (ouch. That felt unnecessary), which led to the explanation to one quail that I was referring to “serial” not “cereal”, and that is really what tied my theory up in the end. The sort of person who dreams of becoming a serial killer but is, at present, sitting at their window eating cereal would see me shuffle by and think, heck, might as well start today.
- There were no Tiffany Smiley signs along this road.
Now, maybe you aren’t reading this in Washington State, or maybe you are and have not quite stepped so deep into my brain that you can make the connection between strolling for slim, murder and Smiley for Congress signs, or maybe you are flinching because you think I am about to go headfirst into politics the way you expect bicyclists to plunge headlong into traffic. Relax — you won’t feel a thing. All I am saying is that Tiffany Smiley is running against a career politician whose name rhymes with Fatty, who tends to be evil like Nero, except that Nero probably had better hair. And along this road I have been walking, there are quite a few Smiley for Congress signs.
I only mean that when faced with the choice of a side road with no Smiley signs or a busy main road that is littered with Smiley signs, the gears of the mind begin to click — obviously, there are Smiley supporters who don’t put out signs (um… us), but that means there are also Fatty supporters who don’t put out signs and thus, I am playing the odds on who I think is more likely to be morally bankrupt, and thus would get their kicks and giggles from strangling insecure street walkers.
Wait… that wasn’t quite right. Walkers on the street… street people who walk… aw, drat. Well, you know what I mean. People who kill street walkers are a different kind of killer, and I suspect they don’t even vote.
I could be wrong. Lower your political hackles. I am merely confessing to you my train of thought when I took 5 steps down a side road and then hightailed it back to the Smiley-laden trail. I have decided it is better to be like a terrified rabbit, skibbling along the side of the road than to be dead at the hands of a cereal-eating politically questionable window-lurker.
Which puts me in mind of school pick-up, sleepy phone calls, and internet rabbit holes.
We are nothing if not creative in justifying sin. You have these dark side roads, so do I. Those places where you know you are going to be drawn into sin, where the temptation will purr in your ear and you will be able, without much difficulty, to defend why it isn’t really the bad, not really the dangerous — not something that would kill you. But that is exactly what sin does.
All sins kill.
If everyday when you go to pick up the kids from school, and you know that every day, you and the mom crowd stand about and gossip while you wait for the small fry — get out of the road.
If there is that moment in your day when the kids are whiny and your husband isn’t home yet, where you maybe feel a little lonely or a little bored, so you pick up the phone and chat with your friend/sister/mother and you give yourself leave to be reckless with your words, to complain about your husband or your children, to gripe against the lot God has given you — get out of the road.
If you think that since you don’t personally have a problem with porn, it is ok for you to click aimlessly on your computer and get pulled down the rabbit holes of discontent and lust and superficial beauty (Pintrest much?) — get out of the road!!
Give no quarter to the devil! It is Thursday. You may be weary, worn out by the week you have already had and exhausted thinking about how much more you have left and your resistance may be down — don’t stop looking around you, do not wander down the roads that you know have death lurking in wait for your soul. You are, for the record, not strong enough for this fight. Grab hold of your Savior (who, incidentally, has never lost His grip on you. Feel that tug on your shoulder socket? He is pulling you back. He always will) and stay walking in the Way, even if your walk feels like a trudge, even if it would be so much easier to step down a quieter road.
“Shout on, pray on, we are gaining ground,
The dead’s alive, and the lost is found,
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