We were on one of the trails on our 100-mile adventure and wondered if we had missed the turn. The directions had been translated from Portuguese and were in kilometers and I was trying to translate them as we walked. We stood on the trail and wondered about backtracking, but instead decided that we had just not walked far enough. We went forward and around the next bend found the trail markers we needed.
And I realized that this was a lesson I needed to learn, that often when we have not found our answers, we just need to keep going. Our mind quits long before our bodies or spirits are through. Our mind says, “I can’t go on” and our body responds “yes we can” and we take one more step. Our emotions cry out “I cannot do this” and our soul replies “follow me” and we more through our heartbreak. We ache and grieve and wish to stop, but what we seek is simply a few more steps before us.
We had to trek through a narrow tunnel with unpredictable head clearance on a narrow muddy path next to a channel of flowing water. The meaning of “pitch black” became clear a few steps in and my headlamp barely illuminated the way. It was long enough that I could not see the exit until we were roughly halfway through. Part of my mind said “I do not want to do this” while the other part responded “what is your option?” and my feet kept stepping forward. I was never in real danger, a fact the darkness concealed. The only way out was deeper in, forward, and through.
This seems to be true in so many aspects of my life. Every quest is longer than we hoped, more challenging than we planned, and darker than we expected. And of course, the reward is greater than we could imagine. Keep walking forward. If you have not found your joy, you have just not gone far enough.