I don’t see people walking anymore. Some people, a few, here and there: scattered. Not exercise walking, just a stroll. I’m a dreamer, a future planner. My journal is filled of prayers, records of my current life and what I dream my life might one day look like. And usually those dreams are a bit inspired by what I consider ideal and beautiful for the future. But there are pages dedicated to walks. Walks with my husband and the tinies that I hope will call me “mama”, maybe a dog? We’ll see. Walks with family and myself, walks with God, with friends, you name it- walking. I know that that idea, that ideal, it must’ve sprung up from somewhere. From maybe my own family walking, or watching other people walking or maybe the walks we take now; the ones with three dogs and four people all conversing, or the ones when the sun is kissing our side of the sky goodnight and disappearing slowly. Walking.
On Wednesday Emily and I walked for a sum total of two in a half hours. It’s much easier to walk here, and in cities in general. But as we were walking we dreamed up some wild adventures. That’s what walking does. It gives us this space that we get to fill, with words or silence, with dreams and adventures, with prayers and thoughts, tears and joyfulness. Walking lets our feet do all of the things while our minds are free we wander and to think. That wandering gives us space to wonder and to create, space for what I would consider the God- likeness in us. The God I love delights when we reflect Him, and I think the space we give our brains, the piece of clarity we offer to all that headspace, give us a chance to be a bit more like Him. He delights in our dreaming and creating and our thoughts. And when we walk with other people, we talk and exist with others. We were created to exist with other people, to do life together, not alone or isolated. Together. To share and connect, to be alongside of and come alongside of. When I walked with Emily, we dreamed of riding Vespas across Central America. When we got back we began to research and plan, we’ve run into some roadblocks but we’re still trying. But we never would’ve fallen upon the dream of doing so if we had not been walking and talking and partaking in each other’s existence. We walked.
My pastor challenged me [pre-Colombia] to practice solitude. He helped to reveal to me the ways that in my time with God, I was distracting myself and sometimes making it nearly impossible to hear God. I’m not challenging us to solitude, but I think walking offers the same benefits that solitude can, whether or not you walk alone or with others. Solitude made my brain empty and readied for whatever God had for me. Walking, in my experience, empties our brains of the noise that often bombards our lives and makes us ready. Ready for lots of things; perhaps hearing the voice of God, or dreaming or connecting with the human beside you. Ready to partake in what life has, ready to be present and intentional. Our thoughts are important and precious, even the wild and absurd ones; so why are we walking away from walking into them?
In conclusion [how I ended every essay until high school], lets walk. A slow, gentle stroll, if you will. Once with only your brain and another time with a live human. See what comes of it. Give yourself a minimum of twenty minutes. See the thoughts or the conversations that come. Let yourself wander as your feet and legs do all the physical work. Clear your head and make yours of ready for whatever comes.