Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Walking Wednesday--By Myself

Prayer-walking. I read a book when we moved to Michigan, several years ago. I don't have the book anymore, but I remember a bit about the concept. I remember liking the concept, feeling like it was something I could do. Like something I had been doing for a long time.

And I had been. We lived six/tenths of a mile from our bus stop and our nearest neighbor. I walked to the stop most mornings and from the stop most evenings during my career as a high school student. My brother and sister often got a ride with our dad, but not me. It was my thinking and praying time. And I prayed, and thought, out-loud.

Then I went to school and then to work and to live in neighborhoods and I saw the people who walked and talked without company. They were the ones just a tick off, at best. People talked about them, not in a good way. They didn't want their children talking to them I didn't want to be branded as one of them. I stopped.

So long as things were going well, it has been fine. I don't pray as well or as often, but I could get by. Then we lost a baby, the second baby, and I wanted a treadmill. We got one, and I walked. Looking out at our little side yard all winter long--Michigan winter long--I walked, and I prayed. Chris and I had different work schedules, so there was no one to hear all those thoughts and prayers. Just God and I and a treadmill. It saved my faith.

That treadmill was my prayer partner for a while. Till we moved here and Abigail got a little older and Simon came along, and we didn't have the space for a piece of exercise equipment of that magnitude. And I've been getting by. Wondering why I can barely make it to the weekend when I can walk alone, in a neighborhood, without the prayer partner. Wondering what is wrong with me that I can't sit or kneel, and pray like a normal, good Christian.

I started talking about another treadmill. Because, my children have such a good track-record of leaving me alone when I need them too. Because our house magically, miraculously grew to accommodate a treadmill. I could not make it make sense. So I prayed and I chewed on it for a while and I wonder why I'm so weird as to be incapable of real, my-life-being-changed-in-His-presence prayer. Sure there is precedent in my life for needing to move to talk and think
  • I can't recall a single conversation about anything really important I have ever had with either my mother or my father that hasn't involved some sort of motion, other than wagging jaws. We just talk that way; I like it.
  • Chris and I built our entire friendship on walking all over campus and finding odd, often cold, and hard spots to stop and sit to finish a good conversation. We still talk best while walking.
and there is precedent in the Scripture
  • Enoch walked with God and was no more
  • Jesus and his disciples were always walking and talking, granted that was God with skin on, but I still think it qualifies
  • and just really, what else was one to do while going from one place to another but to talk to and about God and His word. Wait isn't that a command? Ah, yes, Deuteronomy 6: 4-7 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. So I'm not teaching anyone, but I am working them over in my heart and mind. And ask anyone close to me if their in my heart and mind, they're going to come out!
 Wow, that was many words to say, I've figured out how to be more myself. Walk and pray. And since I am an out-loud type of prayer (otherwise I don't know what I am saying and it isn't real) who needs to be walking and wants to maintain her I'm-not-going-crazy, your-children-will-be-safe-to-play-with-my-children witness in the community, I walk early. Before Chris leaves for his hour-long commute I'm back early. It is dark. Few people are out so few can see me talking and I can start my day in the power and strength I've been redeemed to live in. 

By the way, we're still walking (when we're not sick or it isn't deer season) as a family. It's been good for us and it's being good for me.

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