Every day or two I look for a place and a time to take a walk. Walking is one of my favorite ways to get exercise. In the Midwest United States the weather can often determine if or when I make that happen. I say “make that happen” because I need to allot the time, make it a priority. That can be a challenge.
If the goal of the walk is aerobics, then I especially enjoy doing it with a friend who can challenge me to go a bit farther than I would otherwise do. But I also enjoy going for a walk alone. It is on those walks that my senses awaken. I notice the breeze, the temperature, and the path beneath my feet. The faint or pungent scents in the air become my companions, as do the sounds of birds, squirrels, or sometimes a dog. My eyes take in the signs of whatever season it may be. My mind allows all the sensory information to guide my thoughts and heart, to lead my spirit.
Lovely memories of certain paths are snapshots that warm my heart. The beautiful path that winds up the side of the mountain in Virginia that Monticello sits atop is one of those. In the spring redbuds and rhododendron are sentinels of the path. Nature changes the sentinels watching over the path each season. It is a path I savor as well because I walk it with one of my dearest friends who moved from Ohio some years ago.
In autumn my thoughts go to the walking path around Stowe, Vermont that I walked with my husband. Rustling leaves of every shade of
red, orange, yellow, and brown wave overhead and beside the path. A gurgling stream meanders along parts of the path. My eyes turn upward to the brilliant white church spires standing against the bluest of skies. What a stunning display God creates each autumn!
Of the many favorite paths I have walked, the one that heads the list is the path to Boom Lake in Alberta, Canada, near Lake Louise. On our first visit to the area, a waiter at our hotel told us about this path and arranged for the hotel’s chef to pack a lunch for us. It is not one of those hiking paths the average tourist discovers. The path to the lake takes about an hour or so. Between the towering trees along the path, the granite snowcapped mountain peaks are visible. Hidden treasures of wildflowers and occasional berries dot the path here and there.
My husband and I have walked this path a number of times. A lunch at the edge of Boom Lake has been our reward for the first half of the hike. Sitting on the rocks beside the glacial lake creates a calm and rest that goes beyond weary feet. This path was where my husband told me the story of Lewis and Clark from Undaunted Courage that he was reading. His words and descriptions were so vivid that I could have been reading it.
Something about walking opens the senses and mind to explore ideas and possibilities while still remembering that very moment and other moments that came before. It fills us up and empties us at the same time.
When Paul challenges us to walk “in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called”, what is he asking of us? Is he asking us to open our minds, hearts, senses, and spirits to be in touch with the reality of our life in Christ, to reawaken ourselves to the grace in which we may revel? Such a challenge written by Paul from prison in Rome reminds us of our freedom. It reminds us we are to look, sound, and live like Christ.
What would that look like?
What impedes us on the walk?
Come with me to explore more about the challenge of walking in my next post.