"…for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:11)
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A Story Stroll

Today is ten months since Craig died. I have pondered this milestone for the past week—what it might feel like, and whether I should do anything special to celebrate him. I considered recording a video, and I might still, but I had neither the time nor the mental bandwidth this morning to gather my thoughts. So, I opted for a walk.

A walk would provide a time of quiet reflection–the perfect way to honor the occasion. I could walk to the park and follow the winding trail through the woods where Craig and I walked together last spring. I would enjoy the sights and sounds of nature and think about those last precious days with my husband as I retraced our steps.

Of course, God had other plans.

I arrived at the park to discover the sidewalk was closed. The earth had been torn up and a team of workers were installing large pipes underground. Signs pointed to an alternate route, and I veered toward the new course, realizing that I didn’t have much choice. How appropriate that I would encounter an unexpected detour on the day I was commemorating Craig’s death—the most unexpected detour of all.  

The new path took me past the playground, which was surprisingly empty, and around a cluster of trees before connecting back to the familiar trail. I noticed that the city had installed new signs every few feet along the path, inviting children and visitors to take a “Story Stroll.” Each station invited kids to notice interesting things in their surroundings, explore new places, and imagine the possibilities.

God whispered: This is a new story.

I walked through the woods, doing only the inner loop and not the full power walk that Craig and I took together. That path was meant to work up a sweat and shake loose the darkness that had taken hold of his mind. This walk was meant for reminiscing. I did not need to hurry. Nothing needed fixing.

In the center of the trees, I caught the delicious scent of honeysuckle. My eyes scanned the branches and brambles for the source, and I spotted the wild vines a few feet further down the trail. The memories came swiftly and made me smile. Honeysuckle grew along the driveway of the house where I grew up, and I smelled it every day when I came home from school. I was a latchkey kid, and learned at an early age to fend for myself. The sweet aroma was a gentle reminder: I know how to be alone.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Matthew 19:14

Making my way back toward the main road, I was happy to see a mother and her children had staked claim to the playground. I decided to leave the park through the main exit, rather than walk back to the path that Craig and I used to follow. God spoke to my heart again. You don’t have to retrace your steps. Both routes would lead me home.

Ten months in, I am learning to accept the unplanned, to walk boldly along the alternate route. God wants to take me someplace new, and there is beauty in the detour.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6


1 LORI YEARY { 05.06.19 at 2:27 pm }

Your story is an inspiration. Not just to me, but to many others who need your wisdom and encouragement. You are a blessing. More than you will ever know this side of heaven. Love you, my friend!

2 Liz Dobbs { 05.06.19 at 5:45 pm }

Wow… truly inspiring. The amazing strength you have. Thank you for sharing. Sending prayers. Stay strong. Love you sister in christ

3 Laura McPherson { 05.07.19 at 6:14 pm }

So beautiful, Leslie!