Starting the Lighter Walk

Getting started is never easy – even when we are excited about something new, that first step can be a bit of a challenge. It can be especially challenging if that something looks like exercise. Or maybe even a spiritual journey that you are feeling called to begin.

The Lighter Walk is all about that. Getting out of ourselves and experiencing this beautiful world that God created for us to enjoy. It is, as my friend Jerry Everard writes in The FogWatch, about noticing the “small details we often overlook.” As we look beyond ourselves at the tiniest of flowers along our path we can come to appreciate the splendor of a planet for which we are charged to take care of. If God can bring such single simple beauty in the world of nature, we can begin perhaps to believe that we too are created in the image of a loving God, here to love and care for one another.

There are many ambitious walking programs that we can turn to; however, for some of us the notion of loading up a backpack and heading to the wilderness may be a bit overwhelming. Maybe it is a Camino or a pilgrimage discovery walk. Maybe after the movie or Gilmore Girl’s you want to embark on the Pacific Crest Trail walk made famous by Cheryl Strayed but it is more than what you are prepared to undertake. And of course there is the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine that many believe brings one into adulthood.

For me, as an older woman with a bad knee and carrying too much weight, all of that sound a bit too daunting. And yet I want to be outside more. I want to feel the warmth of the sun beating on my face, or the chill of a fall breeze. I want to look for God as I walk and talk with him as I experience the world around me. I want to return home feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and closer to God. I want to get healthier in mind, body, and spirit with each step forward.

Today I took that first step. I took the dog and we simply walked the neighborhood. I saw those tiny flowers peeking out of the grass as we walked along the busy roadway. Who knew that such a tiny buttercup could bring such a warm smile? Can you believe it– a tiny little yellow flower with tiny petals and leaves pushing out of the rough soil to bring light into the world?

I realized that in my days of dealing with depression I have forgotten about the beauty in the world around me. My eyes and mind have focused far too much on the grim and disappointing. It has become easier to see the garbage and miss the flowers that spring up naturally, on their own. It has become easier to make excuses for why I can’t get out rather then finding reasons to embrace life. And yet, a simple 15 minute walk today brought such joy and peace. I am more encouraged then ever to make this walk where I am, one step at a time. Each day I want to step forward and see the fine place in which I live.

I encourage you to also take a step outside. Open your eyes and look around as you walk. See those little flowers in the bush. Look at the individual glory of a finely grown leaf.

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