The Good in the Hard

The path I walk daily is familiar.  My stride lands on well known ground.  It’s the easy way, the calming, breezy way. 

My path crosses another familiar trail. I always look to the right down the hilly terrain longing to step that way again but memories stop me.   

It’s a harder path, taking more effort to walk the inclines but that’s not what stops me.  

The way to the right is the path Bob and I always walked together.  My companion and I encouraging each other along the way. Talking about the events of the day.  Sorting through tough decisions.  Some days joking and laughing as we walked. It was the route we took together for exercise.   

We always enjoyed the scenery, the wild life near the creek and the beauty of our surroundings.  When we got to the creek, he would stop to see what he could spot.  He liked to watch for fish swimming near the surface of the water and turtles wandering close to the edge of the creek. He’d point out the beavers, ducks, swans and geese. I wanted to keep up our pace but he was full of wonder and it was contagious so we often lingered there before continuing our hike.   

While out walking yesterday, when I came to that intersection I turned right.  I started down the hill on the path we used to walk together but stopped halfway and turned back to the easy path.  At the top of the hill, I looked back again.  ‘It won’t be easy but you can do it,’ I encouraged myself. I tried again.  

Pushing myself to conquer the first incline, I realized how out of condition I was for this path. But remembered, in years past, when winter gave way to spring it was always difficult on the first hike. As we continued to walk that path, it became easier and by fall we walked it with ease.  

Yesterday I found it more physically difficult than my usual route but emotionally it was even harder. 

Tears I tried to push back welled up in my eyes.  I couldn’t help but feel a deep loneliness.  I missed the company of the one who walked this familiar path with me for many years.  Thinking back on the times we spent together on our walks, brought bittersweet memories to the surface.  

I knew with each step I was walking toward wholeness so I continued on. Not letting the ache dictate what I can or cannot do, I leaned into all my emotions. I felt the feelings and let the reality of what was wash over me. Being present in it is ok.  It’s the hard but healthy way. ‘I can’t let this undo me,’ are words I say often.  

Even in the middle of the hard I experienced something good.

Finally after a late start to spring, everywhere I looked I saw pops of color.

Sadness and joy can coexist.  I let both ebb and flow.  First one and then the other.   

When I returned home, I gave Bob his breathing treatment.   

While he finished the treatment, I blended a smoothie for him. Smoothies seem to be a good and nutritious choice to increase his calories as his appetite decreases. I handed him the smoothie and he put the tv on.

We’ve been recording the second season of “Searching for Italy” with Stanley Tucci and we watched the 3rd episode.  We always hoped to visit Italy someday so we are truly enjoying the scenery and culture of our ancestral land.

Bob hasn’t lost his wonder.  He points out little details in the scenery that I sometimes miss in this series.   

We still talk, discuss serious and not so serious situations, joke, laugh and pray together.  

I’d like this all to be a little easier but there’s still good, growth and conditioning happening on this hard way…just like there is on the harder walking path. The conditioning is preparing me for all the other hard places that may come my way in the future. I can endure, push through with God’s grace, and not allow any of it to become my undoing.  

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4;13

What have you learned or grown from while traveling down a hard road?   

Blessings,

Nancy

34 thoughts on “The Good in the Hard

  1. My Dear Friend, I so understand your thoughts and feelings. You put them in to words so well. It is a hard path, as you already know, but you are taking the steps and going forward because that’s what is needed but still finding joy and beauty along the way. Love and Blessings to you and Bob

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    1. Oh Bonnie, you are going through it at a much deeper level and I know you can relate. My prayers are with you. It’s always a comfort to have friends who support and love you. Much love to you my friend!

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  2. Sending loving thoughts and prayers. Your words are bittersweet and honest. May God surround both of you daily as this journey continues. You are both loved and thought of often.

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    1. Thank you for your blessing, Pam. It’s comforting to know, even though others can’t be with us, that we are in their thoughts.

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  3. Beautiful, Nancy. I love your line, “Sadness and joy can coexist. I let both ebb and flow. First one and then the other.” Yes, walking toward wholeness – such a wonderful way to put taking the hard path to accepting how life is, past and present, blessings and sadness. Wonderful post!

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    1. I love your comment, Wynne. You understand what I was trying to convey in this piece. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and share your thoughts.

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  4. Your heart voice flows through this beautiful yet bittersweet post Nancy. As you continue to walk the courageous path you’re on in caring for your beloved husband I pray you’ll know God’s peace and hear that encouraging whisper “well done good and faithful one”.

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  5. Thank you for this beautiful, heart-felt soul sharing of your journey, It reminds me that we are all one in spirit, and that an experience shared by one is a gift to all. Blessings and prayers to you as you travel your path. May Grace see you through.

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    1. Julia, what a lovely comment. The part where you said, “it reminds me that we are one in spirit, and that an experience shared by one is a gift to all” touched my heart. I pray God can use my story as a gift for others. Thank you for your comment.

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  6. Your photos are beautiful, like your beautiful heart! It is so good to hear that Bob has not lost his sense of wonder. I am praying for you in these days. You are a bright spirit and I know that your husband is blessed to have you at his side. You have been a blessing to one another, and even now, that continues to be so. Thank you for sharing your love story and the ‘wonder’ that love brings to our lives. In life, there is sunshine and shadows, but God’s love and light shines through it all.

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    1. Thank you for your lovely and encouraging comment, Linda. God’s Spirit blesses us daily and if we can’t sense His presence, at times, we trust His promises. Remembering His promises and praying them back to Him opens up space for His peace that passes all understanding to enter in. I hope you’re having a blessed weekend.

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      1. Wishing you little blessings tucked into your days. I look forward to your blog posts! Keeping you and your husband in my prayers. You are so right…God’s promises never fail us. He always makes a way for us.

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  7. you are going down a tough road Nancy. I’m glad Bob has not lost his sense of wonder. You took some beautiful shots. God gives us what we need to go on doesn’t he. You expressed a piece of your journey and heart beautifully.

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    1. Thank you, Fred. God has been faithful and as Lamentation 3: 22-23 says, His mercies are new every morning.

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  8. Oh my, dear Nancy, this is a poignant path you’re walking. Your words beautifully expressed the beauty of what you miss. And then you shared the lovely of what is and the hope in Him who walks beside you and Bob. Thank you for generously sharing this tender journey with us.
    What I’ve learned during a hard road our family walked down was God doesn’t let us down. He showed up through His Word and through the timely words of others to let me know He was in this hard place with us. I’m glad He’s a with-us Father. I’m glad we’re never alone.
    Hugs & continued prayers ~ Wendy Mac xo

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    1. I don’t know how we’d get through this without God’s help. He has been faithful. Thank you for your lovely comment and encouraging words, Wendy. God Bless!

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  9. Beautifully said and touches the heart. I’ve never traveled your road, but I found out what you have discovered – God loves to do life with us. He has promised to never leave us. He is faithful! 🙏🏾❤

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  10. “Bob hasn’t lost his wonder” . . .
    God bless you Bob for showing us a crucial component in traveling the hard road in a good way.

    Thank you for this poignant post Nancy. You and Bob are in my prayers for His wisdom and comfort as you travel this hard road together.

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    1. Thank you , Fred. I read you comment to Bob and it put a smile on his face. We appreciate your prayers for wisdom and comfort. That means a lot to both of us.

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