I’ve followed Michael Stafford (mike-hikes.com) as he walks across American. He’s a young man, 27 years old. He started his walk in Virginia Beach, Virginia and has now stepped into California. I just happened to stumble on his web site early in his walk and I’ve checked his site several times a week to see where he is at.
My current read is a book published in the late ’70’s. The title of the book is “The Road Unseen” by Peter and Barbara Jenkins. The book has their story of walking from New Orléans to Oregon, just after they were married. It’s a story of how the Lord worked in their lives as they progressed in their walk.
I read Peter Jenkins’ book “A Walk Across America” when I was in high school and always dreamed of doing my own ‘walk’. I’ve thru hiked Indiana’s Knobstone Trail several times but always wanted to do a long walk as Mike is doing and Peter has done.
Mike posted a link to the web site of a couple who ‘ditched’ (by choice) their lifestyle and traveled the globe for a year. He met Larissa and Michael while he was in Death Valley. They told the story that once they came home they decided to extend their travels and now live on the road. What this couple is doing in their midlife is what I imagined my wife and I would do in our retirement. Their web site is here.
So it occurred to me that we all ‘walk’ somewhere and that our walk takes on many forms and styles and directions. Mike walks alone pushing a cart with his food and gear. Larissa and Michael drive in their car. Peter and Barbara carried backpacks. Even if our walk isn’t similar to Mike’s or Peter’s or Larissa and Michael’s, we are ‘metaphorically’ walking through life, even if our walk takes the routine of a daily job and family.
Even though Peter and Barbara divorced in the mid ’80’s, I was sad to hear about it. I’ve been divorced and it’s a hard road to walk on. Although the walk gets easier as time moves along, divorce is still hard. My first divorce was back in ’99. I married my second wife in ’01 and started walking arm in arm with my hazel eyed lovely bride.
But thirteen years later I start walking alone.
She decided to start her own walk, without me. She moves out today into a small apartment a couple of miles away from ‘our’ house. She wanted or needed to move out. The kids pretty much are grown up and moving in their own directions and she decided it was time for her to move in her own direction too.
I’m sad. I honestly believed that she and I would be together forever. I wanted to grow old with her. I wanted to be married to her for 50+ years. I believed that she was my soul mate and I honestly believed that I provided all that she needed and wanted. But, as she has said several times in different occasions, I can’t provided everything.
Maybe it’s was our ages. When we married in 2001 I was only 39 and she was 24. My kids from my first marriage were already teenagers and living with their mom. Her kids from her first marriage were under 5 years old. We blended well. I thought we had a great life. Of course there were struggles and difficulties but I always believed that even a bad day with her was better than a good day with someone else. Her youth was energy and her smile and personality was inviting. I loved her so very much.
But, as I am realizing, that our walks through life can take new directions and new twists and turns can come up without any warning. Sometimes things don’t work out as we believe they should or want them to work out. And today, we spilt and she starts walking in her new direction.
I’m certain that any married person fantasizes or dreams about being single again and wondering what their life would be like if they weren’t married. I confess that I’ve had those fleeting fantasies of being free and able to do as I please no longer chained to certain expectations and nags and rules that seem to confine.
In honesty, I don’t want to be free in that regard. I don’t really want to walk alone. I want to walk with her.
But, as she has said several times, I can’t walk with her any longer.
So, my current mile is starting in a new direction down a road that I reluctantly have to travel on. It guarantees to be a hard and lonely one. I’m sure that I will be ok. Thankfully, if my running has taught me anything, one mile is hard but the next one could be easy.