I recently walked the local track with tears streaming down my cheeks. Someone walked alongside me, and the conversation we had was a tough one. It was necessary but sad. I eventually ran out of words. But not tears. There was nothing left to be said, but there was still a lot to be felt. As I stepped off the track, I wondered if I would ever want to walk there again. It’s as if my tears and the heartache behind them might have tainted the track itself, as if the pain somehow soaked into the surface.
But I returned to the track two evenings later. Just like before, the sun had set. Just like before, the air was brisk. But this time, I was by myself. And this time, the tears didn’t fall.
In fact, as I walked each lap, my steps got a little lighter. I smiled a little more. Not that the sadness was gone. But I realized many of the steps I take might be along a familiar path yet very different at times. As familiar as the path might be, each lap is different, too.
Each step is a step forward. Some steps are harder than others. Each one takes strength and courage and sometimes involves sadness and pain. But each step is new.