I will take the high road…
Those who put their strength in You are truly happy;
pilgrimage is in their hearts
It is easy to walk in fear, anger and dread. It is cheap. You can get ‘buy one get three free’ deals all day long on fear, anger and dread. They are the travel companions of the low road.
The high road is indeed less traveled. The travel companions along the high road are love – in it’s purest/most expensive form -, faith and hope. Love, faith and hope are companions that are firm, unrelenting and have the ability to push you hard, yet sustain you at the same time on your most weariest of days.
The pilgrims of the high road are those that choose to travel in hopes of achieving one-whole-life. One-whole-life is a life that is consistently pursuing the right, good and whole things of God. They are pursued inspire of other influences/distractions of those around them.
I know more than ever I am called to travel this road. This is the road that my family and I will travel upon. We will travel together with other pilgrims that are called to travel the high road. I choose to say no to the low road. Fear, anger and dread will not be our travel companions.
In the the days leading up to election day and the days that have followed, there has constantly been the choice before us all of which road to travel. I am deeply saddened, disappointed and grieved at the road many have, are, and appears will continue to travel. My oldest son told me that a few days after the election, that those at the Junior High level where chanting in the hallways aimed at minority students, “Build that wall!”. The vandalism, violence and desperation of some of the protests we are seeing across this nation are also traveling with the lower companions. We have lived into the rhetoric of absolutes. There is no life, or goodness in that type of language and mob behavior. Our children are watching us and they are mirroring our behavior. Dismissive language on both sides of the divide echo into the valley that has been created. That is learned behavior from parents that have used their words in careless ways.
There’s a violence brewing in our polarized society. Social media makes it easy to state your opinion and you are instantly affirmed or martyred. Yet, both your affirmation and/or martyrdom are from the safety of your living room and are as quickly dismissed as they were contrived. No one is truly heard, no one’s life changed. My heart is sad at this reality. Yet, I can not make choices for others, but what I can do is this:
I can choose to travel the high road. I can choose to articulate the perils of that journey. I can record my travels and that of my family. I can invite others to travel that road. I can also be uncompromising in the way I lead at home, in the church and beyond. But what I can not do: I can not choose the high road for others.
I am not concerned about The Nation. I feel very disconnected and unable to effect the mechanisms that have their hands on the steering wheel of the nation, but what I can make a difference is the faith community I have been placed in. I can make a difference in the community of Winchester and the surrounding region. I can make a difference in the teams I work with across other states.
I can make a difference there. Principled living and choosing to walk with integrity, with heart felt passion that is God-directed is the most and largest good I can do with my days.
I choose to do that. I choose to pursue one-whole-life.
In the days to come a few things are going to happen.
I am going to change this website to reflect the theme of one-whole-life. This is a greater and more central call of my life’s work.
I am going to create a living curriculum that others can use as a field guide of sorts for starting the journey towards one-whole-life. It will help locate the trailhead of the high road for those who desire to start/continue traveling on it.
I will strive for the high road. I will strive for peace making. I know that does not mean a lack of conflict or a life that is disconnected from those of the world that live in fear, dread and anger. I am committed to helping those that are caught in fear, dread and anger but want more. I am committed to those that want to walk the high road and have one-whole life.
St. Wendell Berry says it this way:
“It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
I am a pilgrim on this road. Please join me on the journey towards one-whole-life.
Vigilant in all things,
Kevin (and Sarabeth) Parido