Look Up and Enjoy the Journey!

I recently spent 4 days and 3 nights hiking through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. I walked the Milford Track in January this year. People flock from around the world to see and walk this Great Walk, understandably.   The track passes through lush rain forest, P1210789past crystal clear rivers P1210773  over a mountain pass P1210858 P1210880 P1210938  down on past P1210953cascading waterfallsDSCN0663and the tallest waterfall in NZDSCN0674. Yes, the going was difficult and tiring at times but always the scenery was stunning, when we stopped to take notice (and a photo). The huts at the end of each day were always a welcome sight for weary legs, sore feet, and hungry stomachs.

Sometimes our lives are like a long, hard hike. We carry burdens and we are tired and struggling. Sometimes all we see is the track ahead of us, and it seems uphill and difficult. Our burdens are heavy and unbearable. Stop. Let Jesus carry the unbearable. Stop. Look for the friend along the way who offers a cup of coffee and a kind word. Stop. Look around at God’s beautiful creation; the sparkling eye above grubby cheek, the soft touch of your husband’s hand, the smile of a mother, the hug of a friend, the lick of a dog, the blooming flower. Lift your eyes. See that others are on this journey too. Encourage and help them and be helped in turn. Stop. Read God’s word and gain strength for the next bit of the road. Rest. That’s what God gave us one day in seven for. Sometimes we treat life like it is a race but it is more about the journey, “how” we travel not how fast we complete each section. Let God lead you by the hand and let Him guide you rather trying to do it in your own strength.

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Yay for Junk Mail!

This may seem a bit extreme. Cheering for junk mail, especially as I am not in favour of the waste of paper. However, I recently gained a new appreciation for the circulars and junk mail that turn up in our letterboxes several times a week.
I received this rather startlingly revelation as I was delivering said junk mail this week because my 14 year old son was at camp and I, in a moment of loving tenderness, offered to do it for him while he was away. I have been barked at (ferociously by a miniature poodle), sprayed with a garden hose (who hoses the grass on the verge, on a corner, across the footpath, from their lawn? Seriously!), spiderwebbed, prickled by thistles and stared at. And to all those who have “No Circular”, “No Junk Mail”, or “Addressed Mail Only” on your letter boxes, think about supporting your local deliverer (they are paid per piece), and make sure your sign is clear, not cleverly hidden (so I have to take it back out again, after I saw the sign on the other side of the box) and not faded (is that a yes or no?).  

The letterboxes themselves provide a challenge to any sane person. I have utter respect for mail-delivery people (we call them “posties” here in New Zealand). I don’t know how they deliver half their mail. Most letterboxes have a way too small hole to put even a small Christmas card in, let alone 9 carefully folded pieces of junk mail. Many are hidden in long grass, behind bushes, in the middle of bushes, on top of bushes, in a fence, next to thistles. One was nailed to a wall above my head height. (I know I am not that tall but that is just ridiculous). Some are so low you have to kneel on the ground just to find the opening (which is, of course, too small). Some boxes are big buckets ready to receive all the paper in the world, others are so small two letters fill them up. One looked like it had been run over and propped back up on the post. 

Having digressed a little about letterboxes, lets look at why I think junk mail is underrated. Its not the junk mail itself (although you never now when you might find a bargain), its the delivering of it.
First, when you are 13, it may be (very) difficult to get any employment other than delivering junk mail into people’s letterboxes. I have recently heard of several retired people supplementing their income this way too.
Second, you get fit! There is the collating and folding of those catalogues and flyers (ranging from 3 through to 16 different ones) that all need to be put together in a neat manner and readied to be delivered. That stretches the back muscles and gives the arm muscles a good workout. Then all the walking popping them into the boxes. Carrying a heavy pack (some people choose to push an old pram but that is a bit uncool for my son, though I am, now, totally sold on the idea) sure beats weightlifting. The walking is good aerobic exercise… and, instead of paying to go to the gym, you get paid to do it! How good is that?! Ok, the pay isn’t flash but… still better than having to pay to exercise.

So, as you drag in the latest advertising material from your letterbox, think for a moment of the person delivering it and that is it a blessing they have a job.