On some days his feet hurt with the extensive use of his limbs. How do you keep moving when everything in you screams to stop and give up. And yet, one foot would keep moving in front of the other as if to say, "I can't stop even if I wanted to". So the movement was always forward to some better destination.
He might not be sure of where he was going but he sure remembers where he had come from. His was the city that drained every ounce of goodness out of him. He might have woke up in the morning encouraged but by the end of the day it all seemed like gloom and doom. The streets were dirty and even when the sun did shine one couldn't feel the warmth from the it because of the smog and grime. He was sure that his health had declined significantly because of his years there. The proof was in the nagging cough that persisted. Why hadn't he left earlier? Probably because he didn't know that one could leave. Everyone that he knew lived in the city. Come to think of it he can't remember anyone smiling in that place of discouragement either.
When he had decided that he had had enough of this life in the city he started packing. The friends, or should I say acquaintances, all laughed at him as if he were crazy. Right now as his feet burned he wondered if they were right. But there was a force, like an aching hunger, compelling him to go. He was embarrassed and distressed about what his "friends" said. They told him that he was going to starve or be eaten by wild animals. Where would he sleep at night? What about clean water (even thought the city's water was so polluted that you couldn't drink it)? So, as he rose on that first morning to leave, there was no one saying farewell, no going-away party and certainly no one offering to go with him.
The first night away was a torment. Frightened and alone he was sure that someone was looking at him, following him to end his life. But morning came and with it a light in his step as if to say that this was indeed a good idea. As each day came and went, and as the feet began to swell it wasn't as easy going as at first. There were days that he was hungry and thirsty. Amazingly, at the moments of dire need provision was made. He couldn't explain it but the moment he thought he could go no further without a drink of water a stream would come into view. Even with something to eat the game would, as it were, just lay down before him as if to say, "I offer myself to you so that you will live." At every corner of need it would seem that there was Someone taking care of him.
It was a lonely path that he had chosen. Although at times it seemed like Someone else had chosen the path for him. He longed for a comrade, a friend to talk to, ask questions of. At first there was no one. But as he traveled on there would come a person here and there. This was a great encouragement to him at times. Yet, at other times it would wound him to the soul. There would be those who would offer a hand only to want something valuable from him. Then there were those wonderful moments that a true friend would come and journey with him. These were excellent times indeed! They might seem short lived though as the friends journey would take a different path. The traveler had come to learn that there are friends that are always friends and there are others who are not.
Time went on and so did the miles. With each day the traveler would get a clearer glimpse of where his heart was leading him. His body got older and so he wasn't as strong as at the beginning of the journey. This didn't matter to him anymore because he had to keep going. There was no turning back for he did remember where he had come from. This journey had taken him to mountains so glorious no words could describe it. The valleys had also been beautiful but in many ways so soul wrenching that they weren't his favorite place to be. He knew that each place had it's significance. The memories of them stayed with him to the end.
Towards the end of the journey the traveler came to a meadow. It was so incredibly beautiful that it took his breath away. In this meadow was a young girl with a smile that eased any physical pain that he was feeling. She beaconed to him to come and rest at her and her mother's cottage. There, a young girl washed the traveler's feet and put ointment on his blisters. Her mother made food that would restore his soul. He was almost home, he could feel it. If the voice hadn't continued to call to him he might have been content to just stay in this place of rest. But the voice called saying, "keep on going". And so he did. He said goodbye to these faithful servants of the Master Commander and headed true north.
The traveler finally reached his destination and was greeted with such a celebration. The journey had been hard at times but so worth it. The pain in his feet no longer existed. His raggedy clothing was exchanged for a glorious robe. He was clean, no more blisters. He felt young again with a new body. And, oh how he rejoiced. He had never danced before but now that is all he did.
"May I arrive where means of grace cease and I need no more to fast,
pray, weep, watch, be tempted, attend preaching and sacraments;
where nothing defiles,
where is no grief, sorrow, sin, death, separation,
tears, pale face, languid body, aching joints,
feeble infancy, decrepit age, peccant humours, pining sickness,
griping fears, consuming cares;
where is personal completeness;
where the more perfect the sight the more beautiful the object,
the more perfect the appetite the sweeter the food,
the more musical the ear the more pleasant the melody,
the more complete the soul the more happy its joys,
where is full knowledge of thee."
~ Valley of Vision
"It is this breath of Heaven which we want."
~ Charles Spurgeon