Sunrises And Walking Sticks

When I was a boy our church sent some of us on a youth retreat. I had a great time although I didnít realize it then. Being a teenager I was far more interested in talking to the other teens and joking around than I was in the experiences our youth counselors had planned for us. It is only now many years later that I remember and cherish the lessons they taught.

I remember moaning and groaning when they got us up early to watch the sun rise over the mountains. Then I only wanted a few more hours of sleep instead of the breathtaking sight I was seeing. Now, however, I watch every sunrise and sunset that I can. It is the best way I know to share a joyous "Good morning" and "Good night" with the loving God who made me.

I remember too a counselor of somewhat generous proportions wearing out a group of us fit, young teens as he led us on a hike up the side of a mountain. He carried two walking sticks with him. One of them was in his hand and he used it to help himself up even the steepest parts of the path. The other was in his heart, soul, and mind and he used it to point out every beautiful thing there was to see along the walk from a single flower blooming in a bush, to a nest of robins living in a tree, to the wonderful view that awaited us at the end. Then I only wanted to head back down the hill and play basketball. Now, though, I try to see the beautiful in everything just as he did. He showed me that God gives us all a wonderful walking stick called our thoughts and that we all can use it to help us travel joyously through this journey called life. Either that or we can beat ourselves over the head with it. The choice is ours.

That retreat remains the most fun I ever had 30 years after the fact. I guess sometimes it just takes us a bit longer to get what people, life, and God are trying to teach us. I hope you use your walking stick well, live your life with love, and watch the sunrise every chance you get.

~ Joseph J. Mazzella ~

[ by: Joseph J. Mazzella Copyright © 2009 ( -- submitted by: Joseph Mazzella ]

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