The Path I Follow

I may rest along the way, but not too long.
There is a destination I intend to reach.
I see many footprints along the way,
Some leaving the trail,
Others joining.

I walk alone at times, but I also know times of company
Good and bad
Some footpaths that have left the trail are mine
I nearly died out there
I almost lost my way more than once

There is a handrail
I can hold to it
I can lean on it for stability
I can use it to pull myself along
When the slope is too steep
When my arms are stronger than my legs
When I stagger and falter.
Sometimes, all I can do is sit by the rail and weep.

I have crossed dry plains, marshlands, mountain passes, deep and soothing forests, quiet deserts, and eagle-topped hills.

I have heard many languages spoken by my fellow-travelers
Many faces of various shapes and colors dot my memories
I hear voices from the dust
And I have had friends pass to the dust,
And I am promised such a fate, as well.

Still, I walk on.
Death is part of the journey.
It is not the end, it is a stretch of road.
In life, we choose the path we follow when we are dead
We choose a rough and rocky path forward
Or pacing between prison walls

Pebbles in my shoes, pains in my muscles
Illness in my guts, mind swimming in fatigue
But I have a destination I must attain
Even when others question if it is truly there
Even when others mock me for thinking it is there

I move more quickly when I give aid to others
I move not at all when I feed my demons
I leave the path when I harm others unknowingly
I drive others from the path when I harm, aware of the harm I do
I have real guilt for the wrong I have done
And I will not arrive at my destination on my own
I cannot enter that place, unclean as I am

So I try to open every door on my path
That I might have a door opened for me
I try to give hope to every person on my path
That I might have hope given to me
It is not hypocrisy when I try to do good as I sin
It is a desperate desire that I might become clean
And humble
And found worthy

I see those who do not bow their heads,
Who draw things unto themselves,
Who amass and array about their persons
Who do not see any need to change
Who do not see any need in their fellows
They do not walk with anyone,
But remain in their palaces
And they cannot arrive at the place they do not move towards

Sometimes all I can do is say “one more step”
And then take it

You will see many sets of footprints on the path
The trick is not to follow any of them
But instead to hold that handrail
To smile and to be kind
To ask for help when you need it
And to have hope that you will arrive
And be cleansed of your evils that you might enter therein
There is a way for that last door to open
And then I will have the rest I seek after a life and a death
Of walking on that path

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