My Mam-ma always said it just this way: "Got my walk in today."
Even if Granddaddy was with her, or her grandkids tagged along, it was ‘my walk’. The two words kind of squished together in that comforting West Texas way.
I hear those words, her words, in my head when I say this now too. And I am amazed again at how far from my childhood I am and yet simple phrases and moments like these spring up so current and evocative.
When we are home in Fort Portal, I like to walk at the same time every day.
Early evening. Just before dinner.
For the last few weeks before our furlough, this was the same time of day the rains would appear.
When rainy season descends over Fort Portal the storms can be heavy. Strong winds, lightning and sometimes hail.
From our home you can see the storm approaching and very often predict it’s strength or nature.
The storms and their timing very often affected ‘my walk’ in the weeks before our departure.
I missed my walk some nights. And I shortened my walk some nights.
And some evenings, I got my complete walk in before the rain fell.
But I had to be paying attention.
This from a typed musing just before we departed:
“Tonight, the sky started to rumble as I put on my shoes. The clouds were dark in the distance so I hurried to get in what minutes that I could.
As I circled my usual path, I began to pray for God to hold back the storm. Just so I could finish my walk.
And it struck me.
So much of this current season is just like this.
I seem to be constantly praying, “Hold back the storm, just for a bit.”
It is heavy and threatening. Approaching. Visible.
And yet, I rush against it. To complete something then move to safety.
Sometimes, the rain pelts down despite my request for a reprieve. Sometimes the storm holds until the minute I get inside my back door.
And sometimes it is a little of both.
The rain has been fat and heavy. Painful as it hits my head.
Other times, it is a slow drizzle and I can walk in it with little discomfort.
Sometimes the electricity lights up the sky around me, sending me racing for the door.
But in the last weeks, I could always count on the presence of the storm.
I couldn’t stop it.
I could only choose how to negotiate it.”
Living in the vagabond state of furlough changes all of our daily practices. We are in new systems and schedules and lifestyles. Colder weather. As I look back over the last six months I am gently astounded by the provision of time to walk at every destination point.
The venues have varied and I never know at what time of day I will be free to sneak away for exercise. But one thing has remained steadily consistent.
Winds (I’m looking at you West Texas!), snow, rains, bitter cold and the seemingly unending ‘storm’ of ill health that has battered our family more than the elements.
The ‘storm’ of a constant change of plan. The constant waiting. The pelting rain of not knowing what the next steps will be.
To get ‘my walk’ in I have to be paying attention. I must be deliberate.
(And flexible--deep, deep sigh)
I can’t choose when or how the storm will play out. I can’t manipulate it. I can only choose to push into it or wait it out or not walk at all.
And those choices make all the difference.
I am pondering today that I have been allowed to see the approaching storm. This isn’t always the case. But when I see what may be headed my way it serves some of the same purpose that an unexpected storm serves.
I am not in control.
Turns out the walk isn’t all mine.
‘My walk’ is a gift.
And the strength to persist in the walking? To push through the storm?
“Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength,
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40: 28-31