“And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.”(Hebrews 13:16 NLT)
Driving the curvy, mountain roads where I live can be both a delight and an adventure at times. In the Summer the beauty of them is amazing. Buttercups, daisies, dandelions, and Queen Anne’s Lace line the hills along them. Majestic trees full of lovely, green leaves hang over them. It is such a sight. Yet, you are also constantly on the lookout for potholes; deer, skunks and squirrels crossing the road; as well as fallen tree limbs and rocks that have broken loose and rolled down the side of the hill.
I came upon one of those rocks just the other day. I saw a sedan swerve around it and the truck just ahead of me straddle it. I swerved too and then quickly pulled over to a wide spot. I knew a rock that size would rip the guts out of a low riding car like mine if the driver didn’t see it in time to move. I walked over and picked up the mini-boulder. It must have weighed 50 pounds but with a few grunts and groans I got it into the ditch and walked smiling back to my car.
The incident reminded me too of an old Zen story I had read once. “In a far away land a King had placed a huge boulder in the road leading to his palace. Many nobles walked by and around it complaining that the king didn’t keep the roads up better. Finally a poor peasant arrived hauling a cart of vegetables. He stopped and using all his strength rolled the rock off the road. Then he saw underneath of it was a bag of gold coins that the king had left for the one who cleared the path for those who came after.”
Now while there wasn’t any bag of treasure under the rock I moved, my heart did feel a little more golden as I walked back to my car. I think maybe God puts these rocks in our roads so we can strengthen ourselves by moving them. Maybe the real reward is the Love we feel, the good we do, the joy we scatter, and the kindness we share. Maybe each rock we move, moves us a little closer to Heaven. Maybe each path we clear makes our souls clearer as well. I hope you travel your own rocky road then with strong arms, a smiling face, and a happy heart.
Joseph J. Mazzella