Thursday, May 27, 2010

Path of Least Resistance

Someone told me recently that when she visited the Grand Canyon the ranger who described the formation process of the canyon said “Water is lazy; it always takes the path of least resistance.” I laughed out loud when I heard this because thinking of carving the Grand Canyon by taking the path of least resistance is a delightful irony! Yet look at what the water has done by simply going where it can! What if the path of least resistance is the path God is calling me to follow?

This is an almost incomprehensible thought. We are so indoctrinated to the concept of goal setting and hard work that we actually resist doing things that are easy. Instead of celebrating, and investing time in the things that come naturally or call out to us, we tend to work harder at the things that don't come naturally to us. Bookstores now have entire sections devoted to self-improvement. What if the creator made us for something specific and gave us the gifts we need to do it?

As parents, we reflexively focus on the single B on a report card studded with A's instead of whooping for joy at the child's great achievement. We make a note to pay more attention to the homework from the class with the B instead of looking to see which subject had the highest A and asking our child to tell us about it. What if we sent them to summer camps to celebrate their gifts more often than we sent them to tutoring to shore up their weak spots? Would that look more like unconditional love?

Our incessant striving to improve is caused by our inability to comprehend infinity. We can’t see ourselves as infinite. We see ourselves as finite, with beginnings, middles and ends like TV shows or short stories. We can’t see God’s love as infinite. We think our only opportunity to achieve or serve or matter is through the things we do within the span of our life on earth. And, we want tackle projects that allow us to see them finished. I suspect that most of the important stuff we set in motion will not come to fruition within our lifetime. Who knows what contribution our children's children will make? Who knows what the consequence of a simple act of kindness will be? God only knows. Only God knows. And only God knows what my path is and where it will go. Perhaps God draws us toward our paths by making them places we want to go; places where life is joy and work is pleasure and where we meet less resistance?

The Grand Canyon was formed over the last 40 million years and continues changing to this day. Could God's path for me also be the path of least resistance? Jump in. Let the breath and water of God carry you along the path of least resistance for a spell.

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