But regardless of the road conditions, you continue on. Not because you’re promised that the next bend will bring you your life dreams, or your life nightmares, but precisely because the next bend reveals what is unknown in the moment – the future.
This picture comes from a trip to a very small village in Kenya. 2 hours away from Nairobi, over a rutted, occasionally washed out, giraffe-lined road. The trip was challenging, but what I learned continues to be priceless.
I would cross that road, or others worse, to meet the kids who smiled and played and laughed with us, despite the death of their parents and the poverty of their families. We went with Tumaini International, an organization that gets people from the U.S. to sponsor orphans who have had one or both parents die from AIDS, so that they can continue to live with their families and go to school, eat, get medical care.
Before I met the students, and laughed with them, and saw their joy at being able to attend school, I was hesitant about the trip. It was filled with many possibilities, and some of them, like malaria and yellow fever, were a little frightening. In the end, though, the risks were insignificant to the lessons I learned: how to laugh, not despite the pain of life, but because the pain makes the tiny joys of running freely, playing with friends, and teaching others what you know stand out, because the small joys are what make life enjoyable in the midst of our circumstances.
If we could always know what awaited us around the next curve or over the next hill, good or ill, would we really want to know? Would you willingly walk into the den of a dragon if your path guaranteed your entrance? Would any amount of treasure really be worth facing a foe most likely to kill you? You may even see your dreams in the valley from the mountain top, but you still have to climb down to get them. The path through the forest is dark and treacherous, are you willing to risk the journey to gain your heart?
The road may be pleasant, or perilous, or some mixture of each part; are you willing to walk it with eyes opened to see what it holds?