Taking the high road. So what does that exactly mean?
I once came across a challenge somewhere that if I read I Corinth 13 every day for 30 days it would change my life. Desiring an engine overhaul, I took up the challenge reading it prayerfully for a month straight.
At the end of 30 days I looked around waiting for the supernova it to hit me. Nothing. Days and weeks passed. Still nothing.
Thankfully it didn’t deter me from my love of the Bible and I continued to read it. In my un-orthodoxed methods of course. (Flipping it open somewhere in the New Testament and drinking in, sometimes long, sometimes short, passages). And it always encouraged me, taught me, made me hunger for more.
I was simultaneously learning other ways to live and beginning to change my behavior and habits. I began doing little things anonymously, mostly for the feel-good factor. Feeding someone’s parking meter, picking up someone else’s litter, or leaving dog bags beside the empty dispenser.
At the time, you never could have convinced me that it was those things were the very stepping stones that lead up the high road, but in hind sight they steered to a whole new way of life.
I still hungered for Gods deeper Word, better understanding, so I took to buying bible study booklets and doing them on my graveyard shift at work. I still thought being a Christian was a bit sissy and was afraid of being judged so kept it quiet about it all. I remained a ‘Closet Christian’ for many years. But the fruit in my life was becoming evident.
Then things got a little more challenging. What about my actions and reactions when I was genuinely being treated unfairly? Were my responses holy and Godly then? It’s amazing what you see you when you’re in observe-mode, when God extends grace to see.
Then the challenge got a little steeper. What about my thinking? The broiler room of my actions and reactions? Was I being passive aggressive, asking in my most pleasant voice but seething underneath? Or secretly thinking better or worse of myself or others for one reason or the other? Was I ready to let that go?
I once had neighbors who worked real hard at trying to make things miserable enough hoping I would move. But it didn’t work. I only saw their antics as an opportunity to take the high road. When they set up their backyard fire pit in the direct 4 inch line of vision my kitchen window, I simply close the curtains and went about my business. Or when their grade schoolers were poking sticks through the one knot hole in the fence antagonizing my doggie daycare while mom suntanned, I simply put the dogs in the house, walked down six houses to church to get some holy water and came back and blessed it until I figured out what else to do. The next day I plugged the hole from my side and continued with my doggie daycare. I refused to allow anger, fear, resentment, competition, and such rule the day. And that is taking the high road.
When I started replacing what I could change and accepting and praying about things I couldn’t, I seemed to be cultivating a bigger parcel of land in my heart for God to work with me. To trust me to carry out some of his bidding. And what grander, more fulfilling life could one expect than that?
I’m doing an interesting project for a dementia facility. I’m writing brief bios of residents to hang at their door for staff and volunteers to know a little bit more about their lives. And like all God’s work, I get more out of it than they do. I have written many whose Hobbies & Interests section dwarfs their Career & Vocation section, or some equally packed, because I believe they made those high road decisions all through their life that lead them to that rich, abundant, joyful life. And then there are others I’ve written others that I had to go up a point size and creatively repeat myself to fill the space.
So getting back to reading I Corinthians 13 for 30 days. Did it change my life?
You bet. In spades.