Today I walked with Adileen to school. Slowly. Her preschool is just about 14 blocks from our home, a distance I can walk briskly in 12 minutes or so, but a distance that at Adileen’s pace usually takes between 25 and 30 minutes. Special thanks to Katie, who discovered that Adileen could walk the whole way to school holding her hand while I was on a trip recently. There’s part of the walk where 5-foot sections of the wall are painted, each in a different color. I was filled with joy watching Adileen run to one, shout “Azul!”, and move on to the next, shouting “amarillo”, and “verde”, and “rojo.” So. Fun.
At the beginning of today’s walk I was moved to thank God for our two legs and feet, and the gift it was to be able to walk alongside Adileen to her school. Adileen and I together asked for opportunities to bless the neighbors we already know, and for opportunities to meet new people whole live on our street. Walking slowly can only facilitate the answer to that prayer.
After dropping Adileen off I took a bus into the city center, and on my walk from the bus stop to the CUDA office, I was listening to this short episode of On Margins (a podcast by Craig Mod) called “A Walk in the Woods,” recorded as he walked the Kumano Kodo trail in Japan. In it he reflects on the sanctity of walking the same path multiple times:
There's something to be said about walking the same path over and over again. Same as it is to be said about reading the same book over and over again. The only real reading is rereading. The only real walking is probably rewalking.
All of this inspired me to share this with you. I know that in the US, walking usually doesn’t just happen (unless you live in NYC or somewhere downtown). Our busy lives often preclude taking the time to move slowly. If you have the use of your legs and feet and get a chance this week, take a walk. Around the block. To the park. Even better if you don’t have an agenda. Just walk, and notice the gift it is. Notice God. The Divine Presence that walked slowly through a garden in the cool part of the day in the first pages of the Hebrew Bible is still walking now. Let’s take time to notice.