On Friday, before speaking at a MOPS group about slowing down in our fast-paced world, I stopped to snap a couple of photos. Days of rain had given us nothing but gloomy gray skies, but that morning I awoke to the sun’s yellow bloom against sea-blue sky.I gazed, amazed, at a backdrop of red and yellow leaves, as if awakening in Technicolor Oz after several tiring, black-and-white days in Dorothy’s Kansas.Then I spoke.Among other things, I encouraged the moms to get outside with their kids and enjoy God’s creation as a way to interrupt the perpetual motion of our minivan-based lives. We need the calm, I said.Afterwards, I decide not to race home, but to explore a wooded area near the church, where a sign hangs from a thick beam: “A Sacred Pathway.”A leaf-coated gravel path weaves through trees.Along the way, benches with small crosses invite quiet moments of contemplation.Further in, a circle of rocks surround a fire pit.And a smooth metal cross boldly reflects light and shadow, even color, while proclaiming God’s love.The sun warms me, even though filtered through leaves. I feel the rock’s granite ridges and settle into a relatively flat, angled area that faces the fire pit.I look up.Sun.I look over my shoulder.Cross.I could sit here all day.But this Sacred Pathway is only a brief respite.I rise from the rock after giving thanks, and then slowly continue around the loop, pausing to note the beauty.Acorn caps lie atop beds of maple and sweet gum leaves bunched up where wind brushes them—nudges them—together.I look up from the soft watercolor arrangement and realize I am at the end of the path. The welcoming sign is blank on the back.Before exiting, I stop.Deep breath.I turn around and think how easy it is to give thanks in a space that posts reminders along the way.Then I pass under the sign and emerge from the shade of trees into full sunlight that glares off the asphalt parking lot.
My minivan awaits.