You may not believe me unless you have been to the Antelope Slots in Arizona, but the image you see above is one of several twisted pathways that my quartet of vacationers took together when we visited there in the summer of 2014. To give you more of a true bearing, the sandy path you see at the bottom is only about 4″ wide leading to a slightly more open space in the background. Use your own common sense, and you will see that even for the skinniest of travelers (of which I am not one) to navigate through such pathways requires effort, use of all limbs, balance, and slow caution. We ventured through such navigational challenges for several hours, including but not limited to twisted pathways such as this one.
Our dear friends Matt & Naomi who call the UK home decided on our third vacation together – or “holiday” as they call it – with my wife and I. What began as a trip to the Grand Canyon would also include a trek across the western states (minus California), stops in Las Vegas, Mount Zion National Park, and a few towns as well as a blizzard in Colorado before returning to our home in Texas. Somewhere in our planning, Matt discovered the photographic opportunities available at the Antelope Slots, and so we journeyed to what I initially thought would be an easy stop. WRONG! By the time we reached this location, we were all rather weary from several days on the road including a late and eventful previous night spent navigating through southern Utah and northern Arizona chasing an imaginary road that our borrowed Garmin sent us on. Our appetite for adventure had been met in surplus leading to some emotional indigestion as we began our journey this day.
[So far if you are reading this, you may be thinking that there is no way that I will lead back to the theme of this blog: Finding the UNcommon perspective, the missing voice in the conversation. Worry not! I am nearly to that point.]
I am in the habit of calling life an adventure. This is because I acknowledge it to be so, and because I desire to embrace life fully as a grand-scale adventure made up of chapters of adventures. These stories are made up of starting points and ending points with the journeys in between. Within these journeys are pathways. These are the essence of what make our adventures significant. Drawing on the scriptural metaphor of the “narrow way” and the “broad way,” I find that the former offers the greatest challenges and obstacles. This is interesting because the Bible praises the former in light of its challenge while despising the latter for its effortless appearance and destructive end. Yet, whether you are a Christian or a person of faith or not, you likely have a desire for the “easy way out.” Is this a bad thing?
Is it a problem that we want things to be easy once in a while? My answer is that it is certainly natural. We tend towards the broad path instead of the narrow path for sake of [insert excuse here]. We may appreciate the reprieve and in the process we may also find ourselves less than fulfilled. Modern culture as a whole tends to applaud these broad and easy pathways labeling them as efficient, yet I believe that it is also leaving humanity less than fulfilled and aiming at a life of depression due to lack of embracing challenges and obstacles. The UNcommon Perspective is to choose the twisted pathways over the easy ones! We need not allow culture to dictate our actions and critique our motives. In fact, I do not see why we allow cultural expectations to have the power that they are given. Perhaps it is because of fear. The fear of twisted pathways has become so reactionary that it has attached itself to become the fear of not fitting in with a “broad path” lifestyle.
Life is a gift, it is an adventure, and for us to be good stewards of what we have been given we must make the necessary decision here. Rather than choosing a life of ease, choose a life of fulfillment. Instead of looking for the easy way out, find the hard way in. Avoid the often traveled walking trail and choose the twisted pathway complete with sand, narrow twists, and a ceiling of sky. Be counter-cultural in this case. Choose the UNcommon Perspective by looking for and walking through the twisted pathways that will give a full essence to adventurous stories you will love remembering and sharing. For those of you still uneasy with this idea, you will be relieved to know that you may still exercise slow caution.