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Don't Measure the Miles
by Susan Johnstone
05/20/10
Not For Sale
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I drove past him on my way to Warwick… I thought about stopping and finding out more, but I knew I had an appointment to get to. In my rear-view mirror I looked at the man walking along the dirt road beside a heavily laden donkey and thought, Now, there’s something you don’t see every day. I briefly wondered what his story was, and as I drove I realised that I would regret passing up the opportunity to find out. So I got to the turn-off where I was headed, and looked back, calculating how far I’d gone past the man. I checked the time and turned the car around.

As I came back to the place I’d seen the pair, I slowed down and pulled up on the edge of the road, reaching for my camera behind the seat. I walked towards the man, and told him I’d like a photo. He obliged and stood with his donkey - who he told me, was named Esther.

This gentleman had just spent the night camping beside the creek a kilometre or two back, and now was on his way to Killarney… just ambling along with his possessions on the back of the animal. Esther stood patiently while I chatted and stroked her furry grey muzzle. The two were heading north for winter and the man hoped to be towards central Queensland in about 6 weeks. When I asked where he’d come from, he mentioned a place I had never heard of – somewhere in New South Wales.

“How far is that?” I asked, and he replied, “Oh, we don’t measure the miles… we just know how many days or weeks we take.”

I liked that attitude. It didn’t matter how far it was on the map, just what that meant to him in real time. His journey was not a group of figures but a passage of time in his life.

We chatted a bit more about his donkey and his trip, and then he reminded me he had a long day’s walk ahead of him. I nodded and walked back to the car, while Esther was gently goaded on with a stick. I put my seat-belt on, turned the car back in its original direction and continued on my trip. The man raised his stick in farewell as I went past.

Watching the countryside as I whizzed through it at a rate of 80 or so kilometres an hour, I pondered about this man’s journey at a much slower pace, enjoying the sounds of the birds, the warmth of the sun and the fresh autumn breeze. What a wonderful life… sure, the conveniences most of us take for granted would be far and few between, but a whole new appreciation of God’s creation, and simple health and freedom could be had.

I thought about my own life and how sometimes I worry about the distance I’ve come – how much I have achieved (or not), how much I manage to fit into my week, keeping up with emails and tv shows, housework, projects and school timetables. I compare myself to others and wonder if I will ever be as ‘accomplished’ as them, or as organised, and seemingly competent.

But I was reminded that I shouldn’t ‘measure the miles’ – rather, enjoy the journey, take time to breathe in the aroma of life and rest in God’s presence.

----

“…isn’t life worth more than food? And isn’t the body worth more than clothes? Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth more than birds? Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?” Matthew 6:25- 27, Good News Bible


If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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