Several years ago I was gifted a free airline ticket and a few nights hotel room which opened a whole bucket of possibilities. Where did I want to travel? I pulled out the Atlas and began perusing the states. My eyes landed on Rhode Island. I’d always wanted to visit New England and I could begin my adventure in Rhode Island then head to Massachusetts to experience Martha’s Vineyard, Plymouth Rock, and Boston. I booked the trip and off I flew.
One of the attractions I discovered in Rhode Island was the Cliff Walk. It runs 3.5 miles along the eastern shore of Newport, and not only do you view the mansions of the gilded age but you walk along the ocean with wildflowers, birds, and geology formations. It sounded delightful until I continued to read about the parts of the trail that you had to pass at your own risk. It becomes a rough and rugged walk over the rocky shoreline with 70 foot drops. I hesitated until I glanced at the pictures and knew I had to experience the grandeur. I was doing it. It wasn’t going to be easy but the journey would be beautiful.
I strapped on my tennis shoes, grabbed a bottle of water and headed to the Cliff Walk. The first mile was so easy. It was a paved path that meandered along the edge of the ocean with beautiful homes and gardens on my right. I was lulled into the simplicity until I began to see other walkers turn around and head back in my direction.
I soon arrived at the part that warned to be especially careful and alert. I crossed beyond the “turn back” point and continued on into the challenging area. I climbed. I slipped. Sand wedged its way into my shoes. I listened to the waves crash over the rocks as I clambered and scrabbled along the coast. Periodically, I would pause to drink in the view. It was mesmerizing.
I finally reached the end and exited the trail onto a tiny beach. A man sat watching the surf. He looked at me. Glanced at the trail. Then applauded. I big grin emerged on my face and I made my way to the bus stop with an amazing sense of accomplishment. Oh, what I would have missed if I’d turned around when the route grew hazardous.
Later that evening I sat on the beach and thought about the experience and how similar it is to our life’s journey. God calls us to a path and we must decide to join him. It may begin easily with great views but then it grows more difficult. Some turn back but we have to choose to continue. It’s hard and we are weak at times, scared or anxious during certain portions, yet we summon our strength and take the next step. When we finally exit at the end there stands God applauding for our endeavor. It wasn’t easy but the journey was beautiful.
About Shelley Pulliam
Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale. You can connect with me on social media. https://www.instagram.com/shelleypulliam/