Telling Fortunes

Anyone who knows me (and maybe even those who don’t) knows that I’m a bit of a control freak.  Not so much when it comes to other people, but when it comes to me, my body, and the decisions I make, I very much like to know what I’m doing and what I’m getting into.  I like to know what’s coming so that I can be prepared for it and be aware.  After all, knowledge is the ultimate power.

For years now, I’ve thought that life would just be so much easier if I could see into the future, despite what That’s So Raven had to say about it.  If I just knew what was going to happen, how things were going to turn out, then I wouldn’t waste my time, energy, and emotions and things that ultimately wouldn’t matter. I wouldn’t go into relationships that weren’t going to end well.  I wouldn’t work for months on a project or a task that would take me nowhere.  I wouldn’t become emotionally invested in things that were going to be a disappointment.

But last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I realized something.  Even if those relationships and projects weren’t meant to work out, I was still meant to experience them, perhaps even to learn from them.  And maybe if I had known how they were going to end or to turn out, I would’t have that experience.

Case in point.  On Sunday, two of my friends and I took a trip down to White Rock Lake.  Sadly, it was too cold to kayak and none of us have a sailboat (yet), so we just decided to walk.

Now, my friends and I are hikers.  We love to spend time together out in nature.  It’s good for the soul.  And I think it’s really good for our relationships.  It’s something we all really, really love.  Well, before we knew it, we’d walked about a third of the way around the lake.

We had two options.  We could retrace our steps and walk back the way we’d come… Or we could walk the rest of the way around the entire lake.

Guess which option we chose.

I’ve never walked all the way around White Rock Lake, so I had no idea what to expect.  It was a beautiful walk.  We saw trees and docks and lots of birds.  We were all feeling great, having a wonderful time.

Then the pain began.

This is going to get a little graphic, so if you get squeamish, I suggest you stop reading and just skip ahead to look at the pictures.

Anyway, I pride myself on having a pretty high pain tolerance.  I also have ridiculously strong legs.  I inherited my dad’s muscular man legs, so I can hike for as long as you want me to.  But sadly, even the strongest hiker is not immune to blisters.

I wore tennis shoes that day, but apparently, I hadn’t taken enough time to break them in, because about a mile past the halfway point (the lake’s circumference is about 9.3 miles), my first blister began to form… and it hurt.  I tried to walk gingerly, but that only caused more blisters.

Now, I’m no stranger to blisters.  I’ve been a camp counselor before.  I’ve walked the Dallas Galleria at Christmastime.  I’m addicted to flip flops.  I can handle blisters.  That is, until they rupture.  Then every step is a sharp, stinging, white-hot nightmare.  I won’t lie to you, folks.  There were expletives involved.

The last three or four miles of that hike were torture, even with the walking stick that my friend crafted for me.  They offered to go and get the car for me, or even give me piggy-back rides, but I am just about the most stubborn person you’ll ever meet, another charming quality I inherited from my dad.  I was going to finish that hike.  I’d come too far.

And I must say, it was worth it.

It was nightfall by the time we finally arrived back at the car.  By then, I could barely walk.  Now, two days later, my feet are taped up with no less than ten band-aids and I’m still hobbling like a toddler who can’t figure out how to put one foot in front of the other.  But I have my pride.  I made that walk around the lake.  Even if I sacrificed my feet and my dignity along the way.

The point of this story isn’t to make you feel sorry for my poor, shredded feet.  It’s that had I known that the last leg of our journey around the lake would have been that agonizing, I might not have attempted it at all.  I might have recommended that my friends and I turn back at the quarter mark.  It would have saved me a lot of pain.  But it also would have prevented my friends and me from having an amazing adventure.  We would never have watched the sunset over the lake.  We would never have seen hundreds of water fowl floating in a cove.  We wouldn’t be able to boast that we walked almost ten miles around the entirety of White Rock Lake.  And I think we were supposed to.

That’s why we’re not meant to see into the future.  We might spare ourselves the pain, but we also might just miss out on something great.

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