Lonely Path to No-Where

I happened upon this older woman cutting along a path that bordered the Orthodox Church that I found myself near. Nestled inside the gates of the Orthodox Church grounds in Pskov, Russia – I scanned the horizon for pictures that conveyed the moments that captivated me.

As I walked along the pathways of the church grounds, people had their cameras out taking pictures of the aged brick, the church bells, the cross and the old fortress-like walls. In Pskov, the elderly would approach the priest for a blessing. Sometimes their weary legs would not be able to carry them up the stairs, so they ran to intercept the priest as he was heading for his hourly responsibilities.

I remember watching the exchange between the priest and this lady. She reminded me of a beggar, someone who was just looking for a little love or rather a touch from the “holy man”.

My guess, is that each day, she makes the long journey from her home to the church grounds to fulfill her ritualistic responsibilities. Each prayer offered is another prayer that earns her closer entrance into the kingdom of Heaven. Perhaps what disappointed me most as I watched, was the lack of genuine concern or attention for this woman. She wanted a touch. A blessing. A moment of the priest's time and…it seemed to be a bother for him.

Was he thinking that I have to hurry up the stairs to fulfill my duties? I don't know. Duty… there is an interesting concept? Do we come to church or to our heavenly Father out of duty or because we want to have a relationship with Him? Do I approach my relationship with God out of obligation or out of a genuine love relationship?

As this woman passed near me and headed off into the distance along this path — she walked as if she was headed for nowhere in particular. Her feet carrying her weary body back to where it all began.

Would she walk this hallowed path tomorrow or would she arrive by a different route?

As she faded into distance, I turned and headed for the group that I came with, but I cannot seem to escape this rather haunting memory of a woman walking a lonely path to no-where.

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I help facilities manager and planner create spaces that are backed by research, engage employees of all generations, and drive business objectives. I am also the founder of Dave's Book Club – a once per month reading experience designed to help professionals grow their influence.

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