There is a place many of us have been to and wished we hadn’t. It is called “at the end of my rope.” There is another similar place called “end of the line.” Many of us operate out of a philosophy called “a means to an end” which is really not a place at all, but it has an end in mind. Have you ever been to – where the pavement ends?
Paved roads are nice. They make for a smoother ride, the ability to get places quicker, and are a sign of civilization. Pavement also represents a lifestyle of hustle and bustle coming and going on hot cracked black steamy asphalt. A fast paced lifestyle with its agendas, lists and deadlines. A life with paved roads has motorized vehicles whizzing by with their tires humming, horns honking, doors opening and slamming shut. Games to attend, practices to make, meetings to go to and plans to fulfill, paved roads take us to all these places.
There are places still, believe it or not where the pavement ends and gravel and dirt begin. Gravel roads are bumpier and the drive is slower. If the pace is not slowed one risks spinning out of control. There are signs of civilization, but the lifestyle is drastically different, gravel brings on an unhurried life compared to that of a paved road life.
Where the pavement ends some might say real living begins. The trees grow closer together and the houses are further apart. Ironically, the neighbors are closer despite the distance. They know each other by name and check on, rely on and care for one another at deeper levels once known by many and shared now by few.
Where the pavement ends, the noise level shifts. Hummingbirds buzz, leaves rustle, and streams bubble over rocks carrying any burdens cast in the water, to be carried down, away like a leaf fallen and swept away by the stream to faraway places never to be seen again.
Where the pavement ends, rest beckons the soul to come to the porch of quiet and swing on the swing to rock on the rocking chair to be and to listen, to listen and hear the whisper of God. The heart beats down a notch and the pulse begins to relax. A new rhythm emerges.
We have vacationed the past 2 years in a wonderful cabin nestled in the side of a mountain where the pavement ends on a gravel road called Peace Creek Lane. I read the sign “Pavement Ends” and know we are leaving one world behind and entering another. We have left the life of speed and precision to slow and placid. We have left the noise of one lifestyle that distracts to listen to the noise of another. It’s the kind of noise that settles and hushes. It lures and refuels the weary soul.
Pavement is good. It is a sign of progress, moving forward and making a difference. Gravel is good too. It is a sign of momentum change, a disruption in the normal pace of life to pause and replenish before traveling again on the paved roads of life.
I spend most of my life on paved roads, but every now and then and not quite often enough I need to go – where the pavement ends.
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the cross roads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16