It is truly a narrow way,
Who now wants to go this Heavenly path,
He use surely keep himself
That he does not stumble on the path,
Through affliction, misery, anxiety, and need,
Love must not wax cold.
Ausbund, Song 51, Verse 2
Isn’t it true that our path is very narrow in order to not be distracted from the goodness that we so desire to obtain? I find it hard to believe that anyone wakes up and wants to be cranky, moody, mean, or nasty. Yet, we’ve all surely experienced days when we stray from the path and fall into the caverns of despair. Often our moods are contagious and hurt others around us, thus sending them into the spirally descent to misery and unhappiness.
With my husband and I discussing a future acquisition in Lancaster County with the idea of retiring there, it has made me wonder about the narrow path we walk and how it compares to others. There are so many cultures and religions in the world. I wonder how the Amish feel about their path. It seems much more narrow than mine. In my world, we have so many more choices…in food, in lifestyle, in relationships, in decisions. If we didn’t have those decisions, would the path feel narrower?
The more I reflected upon this, I came to the realization that the path of the Amish may look narrow to us but, in reality, I wonder if they feel less stress and worry. It’s harder to stumble when you are paying attention to the path.
Just the other night, I was picking up some Mexican food for my son. He had a bad baseball game and was feeling poorly. So, I stopped at his favorite restaurant to get him a special treat: beef tacos. I was hurrying across the sidewalk and opening the door. But I didn’t pay attention. I tripped over a slightly raised door jam and fell into the door (which did make my son laugh at my clumsiness). I hadn’t worried about tripping. I had been along this path so many times before this night. I knew the journey well and didn’t think twice about it.
Yet I tripped.
Isn’t life like that? When we are comfortable and have so many options, we don’t worry or ponder the results as much. With the Amish, that beloved group of people that we study and research and dream about, they have fewer choices and have to pay attention to where they step. I wonder how often they trip.
When I travel to New York City and compare the people there to my friends in Leola, Pennsylvania, it dawned on me that people who follow the narrow path and honor God seem to be happier and less likely to stumble while those who are further away from God and traveling on a wide path seem to be less happy. No one is perfect and we all stumble from time to time. But I’m starting to lean toward the narrow path as it seems to present less decisions and ultimately less anxiety. What do you think?