Share the path

Do you remember Robert Fulghum’s  book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? He begins with a list of 16 things he learned there. Number 1 is “Share everything.”


A few weeks ago, two riders approached me from the opposite direction on my morning bike ride along the walking and biking trail near my home. It looked unlikely three of us could pass each other without contact. As we got closer, it also looked unlikely they would drop into a single-file formation required by the narrow path. I slowed down and hugged the right edge of the trail in anticipation of riding off of it into the grassy ditch. 


With my anger mounting, I whispered under my breath: Share the path. Finally, the outside rider moved far enough to her right so we could pass without incident. As we moved by each other, the second rider raised his hand in greeting and shouted a hearty “good morning.” That dissolved my anger. 


However, “share the path,” the phrase that arose from that anger, haunted me the rest of the day. I came to reconsider it as a metaphor for the walk we take through our lives. Sharing the path is not the edict I tried to make it, but rather an act of kindness.


Like Fulghum, sharing is at the top of my list of things I learned in kindergarten. There are so many ways we can share the path in this world. They often reveal other character traits we probably learned in kindergarten. Here are a few:


·      During construction season, we share the path by taking turns letting people merge when three lanes suddenly become two. Or, perhaps, at church, when cars from four parking rows funnel out of a single exit. That’s patience!


·      During product shortages, we share the path by only purchasing what we need at the moment and leaving the rest on the shelf for others who may need it. That’s generosity!


·      We share the path when we notice people around us who might need some help along the way. We can step in to offer assistance. That’s hospitality!


Sharing the path is built on a foundation of consideration for others. There are so many ways to do it. It may include acts of good sportsmanship, giving grace to others, or accepting inconvenience now and then. Today, pay attention to how those around you  share the path. Then consider how you do it. Make adjustments, if necessary.


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