What Lies Before Us

I was walking in the woods this afternoon. It was about 3:00 or so and I was heading due west. I know this because the sun was perfectly and directly staring me in the face such that I could not see in front of me. There was a path at my feet, that much I knew, but beyond that was only darkness and shadow. Yet I kept walking, each step as sure as the last that there would be path to meet me as I made my way forward.

It reminded me of the postcard I filled out at the dentist’s office yesterday. I was scheduling a cleaning for next year, next November.

Date: November 19.
Time of Day. 2:30.
Name. Jen Payne.
Address. Branford, CT.

That is one confident postcard, don’t you think? I will be here. I will be HERE in a year. 2:30 p.m. will still be a negotiable time in my daily schedule. I will be the same person, same name: single, not-hyphenated. I will live in the same town, now the place I have called “home” the longest, 21 years.

I take them for granted, I think. These confidences. Who and where and what I will be a year from now. Don’t we all?

A little father down the path, I met a older gentleman named Jim. While his dog Yardley and I played fetch, Jim told me about his wife who had lost her eyesight and now relies on Yardley for assistance. She recently spoke to a class of college students, he told me, about what it was like to lose her eyesight so late in life.

She cannot see in front of her, and yet she moves forward — making her way in the world with aplomb and the love of good companions.

Perhaps that’s all it takes to keep moving forward, to keep walking on this path whether we can see what’s ahead or not: a little self-assurance and lots of love.

• • •

©2012, Jen Payne

8 thoughts on “What Lies Before Us

Add yours

  1. Well, Jen… That’s just lovely. It is amazing the confidence we have, isn’t it? And that’s just what the Universe has given us… The gift of just keeping going on, moving along the path, with no promises, no guarantees. Just that optimism, if we’re wise enough to grab it. Once we know we’re not in charge of anything, it all gets easier. What a relief. What a blessing.

    My Mom always used to start wanting to talk about holiday plans some time in August of any given year. I always thought that was kind of weird. But, nine times out of ten, or maybe ten out of ten, that’s how things worked out. We fill out our calendars well ahead of time… And, I think, if things don’t work out quite that way, we won’t even care… Because something larger will have happened. Always good to know there is a Bigger Thing.

    BTW, I have to see my dentist every three months. So you’re in good shape, GF!

    1. There is such a sense of leaving it up to the Universe! And you’re right, when things don’t work out the way we plan, plan, plan – there’s always something new and interesting that takes its place.

  2. What a fabulous place to walk. And to meet a friend or two to boot. I like this story, Jen. And I’m glad you’re going to be here at 2:30 November 19, 2013. See you then (and in between)

  3. It’s called putting one foot in front of the other, no matter what. If we didn’t live that way, how would we live?

  4. And maybe a laugh or two comes in handy.
    I certainly do, whenever I accept the next doctor appointment for next year, or even in six months. Like I’m sure I’ll be here? And available? Oh really?
    But I laugh about it, and that’s fun.

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