Five Minute Friday - Wander

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One word. Five minutes to write about it. This is the idea behind Five Minute Friday and this is today's free-writing post.

not all who wander are lost
I wonder as I wander

I think it was Gandalf that said, "not all who wander are lost" and there's a lot of truth to that. While wandering usually means straying from a path or walking without a destination in mind, it doesn't have to mean being dangerously lost or being aimless and purposeless. What if by wandering we are blazing a new trail or discovering new possibilities? What if a stroll without a specific destination allows time to think and to pay attention to the surroundings instead of just rushing by intent only on getting where we're going as fast as possible?

To be sure, there are often dangers when we get off a clearly marked path, and I'm not talking about experimenting with things that we know are wrong or dangerous. I'm talking about a willingness to consider other points of view, to think deeply about complex issues instead of blithely accepting a narrative without holding it up to Scripture and logic. 

Wandering without a destination in mind isn't always good or suitable either. We do need to know where we are headed and have goals. But we should also allow ourselves to enjoy the journey, and often that means slowing down to see the beauty and the needs along the way.

Israel wandered in the desert for forty years because they failed to trust God and couldn't move forward. Not good - we don't want to do that. But Jesus spent forty lonely hungry days in the desert, and often went by himself to lonely places to pray. I think it's safe to say he wandered while in those lonely places, but he was very clearly in the center of God's will. That's something for us learn from. Israel had to spend time in the wilderness so God could teach them how to trust; and Jesus prioritized his time alone in wilderness places because it was important to him to be with the Father he trusted. 

Sometimes I like to take a different road from my usual route, when I'm not in a particular hurry. Some of these wanderings off the Google Maps route have led me past really beautiful spots or helped me discover a park or business or scenery that I would have missed otherwise. I've always enjoyed walking, but with arthritic knees slowing me down, I can't do grueling hikes (well, I don't think I've ever done particularly grueling ones, to be fair) or walk very fast. But the more leisurely pace I have to stick to might be considered wandering, and it does allow for easier conversation while walking. And it does allow me to look around a bit more and see some sights I might miss.

Not all those who wander are lost.



This post is linked at Five Minute Friday for the word prompt "Wander".

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