The Worn Path – An Easier Way

The Worn Path

The Worn Path ““ An Easier Way

In this county of Orange the single-track is plenty. These narrow trails that meander the mountainsides and meadows string together a web of pathways that have made the trek of many an easier one. This bounty of well-maintained trails is overabundant, yet there are people unaware of their existence let alone their precious value. These trails have been created by voluntary hands and trodden feet unnumbered, and without them the journey through this wilderness could quite possibly be unbearable.

Until one comes to the edge, or on the verge of, unbearable they really can’t quite comprehend what it is like to have the helpless feeling of not being able to take another step. Picture this: You are walking down a path, kicking up the dust and enjoying the surroundings when all of a sudden your pathway ends. There you stand with briars and brush before you, taller than you. And now your vision is blocked. You know where you want to go, and the options for getting there do not include turning around. Some may choose to just sit down and wait for someone to come along and create a plan. But most of us would use our own ability to strategize and create our own plan to get where we want to be. The only problem lies in whether or not we have the knowledge to get beyond those roadblocks.

I, being fairly aggressive by nature, love to challenge anything that gets in my way. So, in this worst-case scenario, I typically would bushwhack until my steps reconnect with the trodden path. I can truthfully say that on several occasions when my path has disappeared or been blocked I’ve picked up my bike and trudged through un-rideable terrain to get where I wanted to go. Sometimes it would bring happy results, yet other times the decision brought more misery than merit (especially when poison oak was involved).

Almost two weeks ago I was faced with a similar scenario. The only difference was that as I bushwhacked I became entangled, and through exhaustion in the fight I gave up and let it take me down. As I lay there going nowhere I realized that in this entangled state, where I had been brought to the edge of unbearable, I knew I didn’t have the knowledge to get out of this one easily. It was then that, as I lay trapped and unable to move, I made the choice to listen to another who has journeyed this same path many, many times.

You may be wondering what it was that stopped me in my tracks. I will tell you simply that a back injury was my nemesis and the pain that accompanied it was the weapon (or in this case the weeds) that brought me down. For years I’ve dealt with the difficulty brought on by a back that is not perfect, but only one other time do I remember being laid up, out of commission or down for the count as a result of it. That incident happened almost eighteen years ago from twisting wrong while lifting Landon (only an infant at that time) and his car seat out of the back seat of our two-door sedan. A short time later, after my recovery, we entered the world of mini van owners to hopefully save my back from further destruction.

Yes, here I am now almost two decades later reliving the pain long forgotten after my most recent injury occurred from twisting wrong while lifting my baby out of the back seat of a four-door sedan. Only this time my baby was a 27-pound mountain bike. Little did I know that the cure for my condition would come from that same bike that caused me to lay here in so much pain. This incident occurred just before Thanksgiving, and the person who would show me the clear pathway to properly treat my personal situation was to be our guest for dinner that day. Fifteen years ago Sandi had to learn how to deal with a severe back injury after being sideswiped by a semi-truck while traveling on the freeway. After surgery and physical therapy she was instructed by the surgeon to ride a bike. He assured her that the movement could help to control the pain and strengthen her core muscles, which it did. She has been able to manage a lifestyle planned around this back condition which now has her bone on bone where one of her discs use to be. If she rides, the pain is controlled; if she doesn’t, her back quickly tells her what she must do, which is to get on a bike, because rolling up in a ball and laying there is no option.

Adversity can be more understood and easier to travel through if we allow those who have already journeyed that same path to clear some of its debris. With their voluntary willingness to give a helping hand through shared knowledge, a way around those roadblocks can possibly be found, bringing more clarity and lessening the fear that sometimes accompanies us on our tough journey in this wilderness. I learned from Sandi that I mustn’t just lay there, hoping for someone or something to rescue me. She taught me from the knowledge she gained in her own personal experience, and that gave me the courage to move, get on my bike and eventually get relief from the seemingly unbearable pain. This week I have learned that for me it works. In seven days I have ridden five times and, without fail, I always feel better shortly into the ride and for long after. In a sense she pulled me out of the briars, cleared the path and sent me on my way.”  In this clearer state I can attest to the value of one sharing their journey.”  And with that I would hope to encourage others who make it through personal trials of adversity to be willing to use that new-found experience and knowledge to help any traveling behind them on that same path.”  By doing so they too will be able to take up the cause of a voluntary army marching forward to be numbered with those who have trodden the trail beneath our feet.

In Other’s Words:

“Experience is not what happens to you.

It is what you do with what happens to you.”

~Aldous Huxley~

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