What Kind of Trail

While reading a posting from someone I respect…

TrailsI thought about his presented image and words in relationship to my life. “What kind of trail will our lives leave???”, he asked.

This is a huge thought process that cannot be addressed in a couple of one-liners or paragraphs. We have all been impacted by so many trails whose paths we have crossed. Some were important as they changed our direction. Others were casual moments that caught our attention as a brief encounter, but there was negligible impact. Others might represent missed opportunities.

No memory is ever alone; it’s at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that each have their own associations. ~Louis L’Amour

This comes from a prolific writer who always told a good story, and often from research and memories that were treated as trails of study.

As a child I loved to run through the woods. While it was fun to blaze new trails, it was often easier to run on established trails. When we played explorer, or trail blazer, it was often to the idea that danger lurked behind every bend or stump. In our mind, following a trail of others kept one just as alert to danger as if you were marking a new trail.

One thing we enjoyed learning to do, probably as a result of scouting, we would mark the trail for the next person following, or, to find our way back the way we came.

Some trails are temporary, even single use. Others are plodded over throughout time until better routes are found. Others may never change because they fit our needs for generations. Trails are often hard packed by many plodders, repaired as often as needed, or subject to changes of times and seasons.

Perhaps the best answer to the question is simple.

The trail of your life is essentially marked by the remnants left on the wayside. Good and valuable things, like people. Even valuable things that have no more purpose on the journey. Regardless, we all leave things behind that identify something about ourselves.

Wagon TrainsIf you have ever studied the Westward movement across the North American continent, you find stories of land schooners called Conestoga Wagons. They were the RV’s of the day. Temporary homes loaded with necessary good for the trip and the final destination. Scouts blazed trail and they were often named. One of the most important ones is close to where I live – The Oregon Trail.

Imagine all of the stuff loaded in the belly of the wagon, or strapped under the frame. Some items were initially thought to be important enough to sacrifice valuable space that might have contained weapons, foods or tools. With no real shopping along the way, they chose wisely. What was considered a necessity might soon be dropped, no longer valuable enough to keep, but that space could have been better used for something more important.

Over the years we have all seen trails of detritus. In the wake of a brutal leader, the trail is often marked by hurt people.

This brings me to a thought. We should always take stock of the trail of our lives, analyzing it regularly to ensure we are not leaving a bad reputation, or casualties along the way.

We should always think about what we should be doing and making sure we are not leaving debris…

I find solace and instruction in Psalms, and this one speaks volumes… I hope it speaks to you.

A Psalm of David.
To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.
Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.
Remember, O LORD,
Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.
Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
For Your name’s sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
Who is the man that fears the LORD?
Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
He himself shall dwell in prosperity,
And his descendants shall inherit the earth.
The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant.
My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
For He shall pluck my feet out of the net.
Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me,
For I am desolate and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart have enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses!
Look on my affliction and my pain,
And forgive all my sins.
Consider my enemies, for they are many;
And they hate me with cruel hatred.
Keep my soul, and deliver me;
Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.
Redeem Israel, O God, Out of all their troubles!
(Psalms 25:1-22 NKJV)