I continued to walk down the path of Christianity through my teenage years as there seemed to be a no other path. I'd heard that there were other paths, but I never came across one. By this time, I was developing a mind of my own and was searching for my own answers about what I saw around me. The answers that I was given during my formative years were no longer satisfactory. I began to gaze out to either side of the path in an attempt to see beyond the horizon where, I was told, all things originally came from. However, from the limited perspective I had walking along the path, I was unable to see much of the world on either side of me. Though I knew the world is bigger than what I could see, I was unable to experience it from where I was.
During my journey, I met many other people who were also walking along the path. I would ask each one what was beyond verizon, as I could not see from where I was. Everyone I spoke to said they could couldn't see beyond the horizon either, but each person had an answer for me based upon their own speculation from what they been told by others. The explanations they gave me were similar to each other, and those answering my questions were positive they were right about what they thought existed beyond the horizon. However, not one of them ever strayed from the path to take a look for themselves. On several occasions, I decided to leave the path and walk to the horizon myself to see what was beyond. Every time I stated my intentions, someone would tell me that to walk off the path was dangerous and that I would be punished by the powerful unseen being that lived beyond the horizon for doing so. Whatever that being was supposed to be.
That was enough to keep me on the path for another year so, but I continually looked toward the horizon and asked everyone I met on the path about what was beyond it.
Eventually, after getting no definitive answers, I stepped off the path. Some people got angry with me, and shouted that I would be punished, or hurt by stepping off of the path. Others said that I would get lost and never find my way back. I smiled, waved, and began to walk toward the horizon.
The space around me was wide open, filled with wonderful things that I've never seen. The people on the path behind me were right about being hurt, I did get caught on and stuck by a few thorns here in there, but it wasn't that bad. In fact, it seemed that the thorns were just a minor annoyance that I could ignore once I get used to them.
I walking through the wilds, I came upon other paths. Out of curiosity, I would walk along them for a while to see what I could learn. On each new path, I met people with different views than those held by the people on the paths I'd walked before. Many of them also came from the Christian path, but walked away from it and, like me, came to where they were. Most decided to walk on the new path feeling that the answers they'd been searching for could be found along its length.
On each new path, I asked everyone that I met about what they thought was over the horizon. For the most part, their answers were different from those I'd been given on the Christian path. But, like those on the Christian path, they were content to simply accept what they'd been told without walking to the horizon to see for themselves.
I walked one path for so long that I eventually found several people who would walk it with me. Like me, they too had come from other paths and were searching for what was over the horizon. Together, we learned as much as we could about the path we were on. I grew to love the culture of the people who first created the path, so much so that I began to adopt their world view as my own. Doing that put me in disagreement with many of the ideas held by those who were were walking the path today.
While I was on that particular path, I encountered several things that, at the time, I was convinced came from over the horizon. They seemed so real to me, but came when I was tired, under stress, or asleep. They told me that I was on the right path, and I believed them. Eventually, time and perspective allowed me to see them for what they were; products of the imagination, born of wishful thinking under times of stress. Nothing more. The mind is a powerful thing.
Nothing on any of the paths I walked, including the one that I'd come to love, could give me a definitive answer to what was beyond the horizon. I tired of walking paths and getting nowhere close to finding real answers to my questions. With no small amount of trepidation, I stepped off that path and walked toward the horizon. I was determined to find out what was out there for myself.
I found the horizon wasn't as far away as I thought it would be, and that it wasn't too difficult to get to. And, when I looked over it, I saw people there! Not as many as those walking the crowded paths behind me, but they were there! All of them were wandering about, looking with wonder at all of the things around them, asking each other questions about their observations and debating the answers. They learned from each other's experiences, but would question with intensity, those experiences and demanded verifiable evidence for each person's claims. With that proof, they freely came to reasonable conclusions based upon such evidence, thus continually building upon a solid foundation of knowledge, rather than blindly accepting things as told to them by other people. They all seemed to carry great wisdom from years of searching, asking, testing, analyzing and comparing the things they found. Because of their lack of mental constraints, they were able to run freely in any direction, and were not resigned to walk along a single path. That said, they would frequently walk paths in order to show the those too fearful to leave them what they were missing, to seek new insights, and to gain more information. Theirs was a world of true mystery and revelation and I nearly wept at the awesomeness of their knowledge and freedom.
I stopped one of them and asked him if I could be a part of their group. He smiled at me with eyes that held a deep seeded wisdom and said, "You are a part of us! You're here aren't you?" Then he excitedly motioned for me to look at something and told me what he saw to be. He looked up at me with that same smile and asked, "What you see?" I looked at it and carefully examined every facet of it that I could. I came to the same conclusions as is he did, but gave him some of my own observations.
"Wow! I didn't see that before." he said, and took out a small notebook with a well used pencil from a pocket. He scribbled a note.
I watched as everyone was running through the fields excitedly, not only asking each other questions, but finding their own answers. They worked collectively is a group, but would still run off in their own directions to investigate something that caught their eyes. And, while I watched them, I found myself laughing. I was enjoying the moment when I suddenly realized that I had indeed walked over the horizon. I was astonished when I saw that none of the things I was told about it were true. There was much more to the world than what I could see from any of the paths. There was even another horizon.
I tapped my new found friend on the shoulder. He looked up at me. I pointed to the new horizon and asked, "What's over there?"
He looked toward where I was pointing with a raised eyebrow and said, "I don't know!" Then his smile widened and he continued, "Let's find out!"
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