The other day I whimsically posted on my Twitter page that my daily travels had taken me through the towns of Cool, Lotus and Rescue, CA. I had never heard of these towns and had no clue they existed. Yet all are within 45 minutes of where I live. These towns didn’t have so much as a Starbucks or movie theater. They reminded me of towns I’ve passed through in the backroads of Arkansas or West Virginia. These towns are great because they’re so close, but also a million miles away.
What surprised me most was that I have a number of friends on Facebook who saw this comment and noted not only that they had heard of these towns, but some had either lived there at one time, or are considering moving there in the near future. This served as an illustration to me that by this stage of my life, there is virtually no human experience that I can go through that someone I know hasn’t already been through, or is there now. No single person has gone through all I’ve experienced, but as a collective whole, as a conglomeration, someone who has touched my life in some way has gone through things I had never experienced before.
I take great comfort in knowing that I have a Heavenly Father who is by my side no matter where I go (read Psalm 139). But I’m also thankful that He provides me human tour guides who know the terrain. They can advise me of the things to see and do. They can warn me of the things to avoid. They can help me navigate my way through these circumstances because they’ve been there.
No matter where you are, no matter what you face, you probably know someone who has been there and done that. God has blessed you with relationships. Surround yourself with people of wisdom and experience. On the other side of the same coin, make yourself available to those who could benefit from your experience. Be willing not just to say do this and don’t do that, but be willing to walk along side them.
I’ve recently created a Crossing Paths group on Facebook. It’s my hope that it will become a community for this very thing. That paths would cross between people who otherwise might never meet, but we can all benefit from the collective experiences. I know your experiences inspire and challenge me, and they comfort me in times when I wonder if anyone would understand. There is even a Discussion tab where you can start a discussion. Ask a question, post an opinion. Get the conversation rolling. You must might be surprised and blessed by the outcome.
If you’re not already part of the community, consider this your personal invitation! Someone there may need you!