Paulo Coelho is a prolific writer, of books and on his blog. On his blog recently he posted a story. Printed off and hanging on my wall in front of my desk, each day it reminds me of how important it is to just allow the road to be revealed. Photo left is me in 2004, totally clueless to the road ahead, yet here I am 8 years later knowing the road I traveled and marveling at the trip.
Photo taken by David Teeple, good friend and visitor at this place we rented on Maui between selling one house and building the next one.
Here is that story from Paulo’s blog.
A hermit from the monastery of Sceta approached Abbot Theodore:
“I know exactly what the purpose of life is. I know what God asks of man and I know the best way to serve Him. And yet, even so, I am incapable of doing everything I should be doing in order to serve the Lord.”
“You know that there is a city on the other side of the ocean, but you have not yet found the ship or placed your baggage on board and crossed the sea. Why then bother talking about it or about how we should walk its streets?
It is not enough to know what life is for or to know the best way to serve God. Put your ideas into practice and the road will reveal itself to you.” Paulo Coelho’s blog, December 10, 2011
Over the past months I have written about this subject often, about roads being revealed as you travel them; how you eat an elephant–one bite at a time; and having the confidence to step out and begin the journey that is being revealed as you practice your ideas and hone your skills.
There is truly no way you can know where you will end up as the journey never ends until you leave this life. Of course, that begins a whole new journey. I remember one day driving down the street, back in 2007, and declaring to myself, “I want to get a tattoo of a tiger, draped over my shoulder and glaring at people, letting them know I won’t be messed with!”
The day I found the tattoo artist to do the work was just the beginning of that journey. The artist, Brad Ward of Forever Stained Tattoo, pretended to work up a sketch of such a tiger and sent me home to find one that would work. The beautiful, majestic and peaceful lady pictured here is the final product. He knew that the anger would pass and I would not want to be reminded of it every day and have it glaring at people.
Even at this point I had no clue where this all was taking me. If I had known I might very well have nixed it, and the journey it took me on for healing would have been altered. As it was, I discovered much about the human spirit, why people find ways to inflict pain to release internal anguish, and to discover elements about myself that needed changing. The couch you choose to lie on to find your healing doesn’t matter; what matters is the healing. Mine was a tattoo shop.
Take the Abbot’s advise, “Put your ideas into practice and the road will reveal itself to you.” Jesus said that the road less traveled is the way to life, that the broad, well traveled one isn’t the one for you. That says many things to me. One, that it is not easy to stay on the road you need for your healing, and two, following the road that everyone else is taking may be easier but it won’t lead you where you need to go.