“Thou has set my feet in a broad place.” Psalm 31:8
The Psalmist celebrates the open space, the wide place that God had led him to live. He can run and jump, explore and play, work and live freely. He can move about in the broad place and not become stagnant or hemmed in by a small or narrow space.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t describe the experience of life for many of us (especially as we age). The experience of life and God seems to narrow for some with the passing years. Instead of a broad space, some grow more fearful, rigid and defensive with each passing year. Instead of experiencing joy and hope, there is a spirit of fear and cynicism.
I believe this is a choice for all of us. Like the poet Robert Frost, we find that there are two roads that diverge in life and we must choose. This choice doesn’t happen overnight, it occurs in a thousand small choices that we make across a lifetime. The choices we make determine the path we choose.
As we age, there is a subtle and almost silent tendency to grow more narrow, brittle and critical. If we are not careful, we can become despairing about life. Watch the news enough and you begin to see the world as a scary and dangerous place. Around every corner there is some new fear lurking. With each passing day, it is tempting to retreat into a smaller and smaller place in order to feel safe.
The other choice/road is the one the Psalmist described. The Psalmist celebrates the open space. He is free to stretch and explore. He is free to live and love fully. He chooses a life of faith. He celebrates the spaciousness and graciousness that God has provided.
In this season of life, I intend to continue to live with the Psalmist in a broad place. A place where we are free to question, learn and grow. In short, to see the world and life itself as an adventure to be explored. I see this broad place as a gift of God. I relish the days and have come to see that life itself is filled with God’s grandeur and grace.