Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Walking shoes

Yesterday I went to get some new walking shoes. I love the pair I have but they are just a tad small. It was cool Saturday morning when I walked so I wore thicker than usual socks and I walked about seven miles. When I got home, I found I’d bruised the little toe on my right foot and it hurt quite a lot. Probably going to lose that nail.

So yesterday I was off in search of foot relief. I went to one of those athletic stores where they do a careful fitting. “Henry” helped me, measuring and checking my stride. He is a warm, interesting person. We chatted about hiking and he told me about his experience as a teenager being packed off to a wilderness camp for troubled youth. It’s the kind of thing where the parents have to ambush their child, doing all the preparation and packing unknown to the child, sending them off unexpectedly. “Henry,” as one might predict, hated it. They camped and hiked in the wilderness, off trail, covering 20 and 30 miles a day. Since his parents pre-shopped without him, his boots were too small, his feet raw.

Of course, he eventually fell in love with the Utah Rockies and ended up working for the program. However, one of his passions is music, so he came back to Nashville, the home of all things music.

As we talked yesterday, it became clear to me that his passions are torn. He loves that outdoor, mountainous lifestyle and working with people in that atmosphere. He also loves his music. And, from my brief encounter with him, he enjoys helping others (my feet feel so much better today I could weep). What was so apparent to me is that each of these passions feed his soul.

“Henry” hasn’t been out west for a long time. He is currently formulating a plan to get there for a visit. I could feel his longing for the mountains and the wild beauty there. And it struck me that if he could be in his beloved mountains even once a year, it would feed the creative drive of his music. The two things need each other for his spirit to truly thrive.

The idea of going where my love is, of really following my passions makes sense to me but I have often been held back from it by my own fears. I can come up with a lot of reasons, very sensible reasons, to not follow my heart. And only one, the one that defies logic, to do so: because my heart burns with love and joy when I do follow those passions. In a world of mortgages, tuition, and taxes, that just doesn’t seem very practical.

And it isn’t. But we aren’t in this world to be safe. We are here to trust, to live with love and joy. Plus, there’s no reason why we can’t follow our hearts and pay our mortgages. After all, it’s about trust.

I hope “Henry” takes that trip out west next spring. And I hope it stokes the fires in his heart and belly and helps him find his bliss.

As for me, I’m going to enjoy the amazing people in my life who give me courage to follow my own bliss. And, a step at a time, I’m going to follow it.

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