There is a small stretch on the road to town that I dread passing through. The road to town is a rural road, no street lights, no stop lights, one stop sign, and takes me about 20 miles north. Aside from the occasional tractor traffic, it’s mostly smooth sailing going to town.
All but this one terribly narrow, terribly dangerous (to me) bridge. I’d like to know who designed and approved this little anxiety attack. Every time I have to pass over it, I hope I’m the only car on the road. And please please PLEASE do not let there be a semi passing me head on.
A few years ago during a very dark time in my faith, I was on my way to a meeting that felt like a Hail Mary. I was essentially throwing my hands in the air at God saying, “I’m done. I can’t do it anymore. I don’t know why there is so much darkness around me, but I can’t keep fighting it.” Something kept me from cancelling this counseling appointment, and I’m so thankful for that.
It was pouring rain outside as I approached the dreaded narrow bridge on my way to the appointment, and I started configuring if me and the semi coming head on were going to cross paths right through the narrow stretch of road. I started to slow down, hoping that would throw off our meeting point, but realized that had only worsened the odds. For some reason, as I passed the reflective diamond shaped sign that read “Narrow Bridge” something clicked within my soul that I will never forget.
Me and that semi did indeed meet on the bridge, safely crossing paths. But I had to pull over after less than a mile.
Tears streamed from my eyes as I realized for the first time in my life the meaning of a straight and narrow path.
Second Nephi 9:41 we learn //
“Come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel”
What does “the way for man is narrow and straight” mean to you? How can you find time and courage to walk along a more straight and narrow path? How would walking that path effect your heart and faith?
Physically for me on that rainy evening, I had to get through the narrow bridge to attend what turned out to be a major turning point for me in my faith. I knew that the spiritual straight and narrow path I was now on was no different than the scary bridge, vital to get to where I needed to go, but scary nonetheless.
The way for us is narrow and straight, but that doesn’t stop the world from beckoning us to venture just a little off those paths. Just one bad habit. Just one more unkind judgment. Just another small gossipy remark. Just one more day of self doubt or self hate.
Finding and staying on the narrow and straight path toward Christ takes courage. Somedays, a LOT of courage and I’m learning that staying on narrow paths doesn't happen on accident. You don’t stumble upon them. You find them. You keep moving on them. You keep praying and reading scriptures and learning about the Atonement. You keep connecting to God, yourself, and others who are also trying to stay on the straight and narrow paths, because there’s power in unity.
Finding the narrow and often less traveled paths that God calls to walk may be our most important work we do. And as we do it for ourselves, we’ll be able to bring those we love along with us. We’ll be able to lift others seeking their own narrow paths, as we continue to learn and grow in faith, even when it’s scary.
If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that no matter what path we’re on, we’re never too far away from the love of God and Jesus Christ. We’re never too lost, too tired, too confused, or broken to find the narrow path back to Christ. We’re never alone.
We are LOVED.