On a hike last summer, I came across abandoned railroad tracks previously used by miners. Their abrupt end got me thinking. There are times when the path we are traveling on in life ends and we must venture into the unknown. We have to figure out another way. The challenge becomes identifying a new route to travel. We must trust our instincts to lead us to our desired destination, instead of the safety of a well-marked path. A mix of excitement for and fear of the uncharted territory that lay before, often accompanies us as we forge our way. Intimidating and scary as these situations are we must move forward. Going back from where we came only retraces our steps. The answer to “where to now?” is still in question. We are forced to decide what is right for us individually, when the path we are on ends.
Fear holds us in place. Going in reverse takes us into our past. Moving forward requires us to look inward for the answers and a new direction. Paths feel safer, but sometimes we must venture into the unknown. The unknown is where we make discoveries and observations we might not have noticed had the path continued its course. These unexpected detours in life have the potential to teach us about ourselves when we willingly take them. Setting aside our fears allows us to fully trust that we are going the right way despite our doubts that we can navigate for ourselves.
With each trusting step forward our internal compasses become more accurate, our journeys become more individual, and ourselves more authentic. When the faced with an abrupt end we get to lay our own tracks, make our own paths, and possibly pave the way for others to follow.