Today I got up late, so Tim and the two big kids had left to church long before the 3 littles and I were ready to go.
That left me with 2 strollers and only me and a 4-year-old to push them.
I don't know if you've ever walked with a 4-year-old pushing a toddler in the stroller. They always watch their feet, the stroller wheels, or the head of the child they are pushing--and go off the sidewalk/crash into the mailbox/stroll into someone's driveway. It's not that the poor kid isn't trying. They are serious and sincere in their efforts to protect their sibling and get them to the destination safely. And, while there are bouts of distraction, usually the child is focused and working hard. And they get so frustrated that they end up going toward the street (and stopping before they get there, but only just in time) or gradually drifting until they crash into the neighbor's mailbox or rosebushes. And then just when they get it right, there's a dip in the sidewalk where a driveway crosses, and it sends the stroller all askew again.
Pushing a stroller is an art that takes serious practice. Especially when the stroller is as big as you are! You have to be aware of the dangers around you, but have your eye single to your destination to stroll in a nice straight line.
It was maybe the sixteenth time that I said to Dan, "Focus on where you want to end up, not where you are now, if you want to get there safely," that I realized that the whole walk to church was a nice metaphor of me--the 4 year old pushing the stroller.
How often do we try our hardest and find we are wandering toward the dangerous street or crashing our stewardship into the big oak tree or wandering up some stranger's driveway?
We get distracted. We focus on our feet or the head of the kid in front of us. We watch the cars go by and, in our anxiety to not get tangled up with traffic, we go and push our stroller into the bushes.
Perhaps the message is not so much for Daniel as it is for me: Focus not on where you are right now, but where you want to end up if you want to walk a clean straight line and get there safely.