In preparation for last week’s advent retreat, I made a trip down the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) to the city of Oakville in order to borrow a labyrinth from a fellow spiritual director. She wondered if I had time for a walk on her favorite path. I took my running shoes along and wondered what kind of paths there might be in Oakville, a place that I only know from driving through on the ‘beaten path’ of the QEW, one of southern Ontario’s most busy highways.
To my delight, not far from her house, and not far from the highway, is a large tract of preserved wilderness with many accessible trails. We climbed hills and crossed streams and though the sound of the QEW could not be mistaken, no visible sign of that hustle and bustle could be seen. It was a beautiful surprise.
Attending a retreat, seeing a spiritual director, taking regular moments of pause in one’s life, is a little like getting off the beaten path of our existence and seeing what gifts of beauty we may be missing. We are more than the busyness we let define us. Our capacity for love and connection is deeper than the surface relationships we settle for.
What beauty will you discover off the beaten path?