Monday, January 23, 2012


Every person, physically capable of doing so, walks. A person’s walk can be as unique as his laugh or voice or sneeze. Young “Jocks” swagger or strut, teenage girls saunter, older women mince along in staccato steps, briskly, and old men shuffle. Eight year old girls and ten year old boys have a style of their own, characterized by numerous detours and much sidewalk scuffing; adults call it dawdling.

Nicknames can stem from unusual walking styles. My mother was a tall woman, 6'2", who swayed when she walked. Due to her height, her walk was not unattractive. However, since walking is usually learned by imitation, her girls swayed, too. Being much shorter, our swaying was stiffer and more obvious to the casual onlooker. I lived uncomfortably with the nickname “Penguin” during high school as a result of my awkward gait.

With all of those various stage
s of walking, it's not the same as a march. Except for school marching bands or military units, we rarely do it. But marching is absolutely necessary to face forward in preparing for battles... whether coming or going.

Almost thirty years ago, most Saturdays during one stretch, I marched, by myself, stomping on sidewalks and street pavement. Life in those days was intense and filled with everyday anger and fear, and this was my "battling" mood. My fight. In Edmond, Oklahoma, I lived near an outside-of-town road, and I would hammer my way up the street.

Those marches led me from Pressure to Peace to Purpose.

Under Pressure, I knew the answers I was seeking and the help I needed, hoping they would be in my grasp by the end
of the trek.

During the first two miles I released the pent-up emotions
. Anger, frustration, sorrow or fear boiled freely to the surface, unhindered by the presence of family members or society’s emotional restrictions. To “stop and smell the roses” was out of the question during this portion of the walk. I prayed emphatically, “hollering” to God [and, appropriate or not, AT Him]. I shadow-boxed my Opponents, producing smiles and double-takes from passing motorists. I shouted my Enemies into submission -- Insistent bill collectors, overbearing employers, disagreeable coworkers, “impossible” family members -- and all the other demons and dragons were ejected from my life.

After the initial expenditure of emotion, my marching would switch a bit from stom
ping to release frustration to marching for and with the Lord. I would sing Scripture songs, such as “The Horse and Rider”, which glorified God for victory at the Red Sea. And, I would sing old-time "rejoicing" gospel choruses – loudly – so I couldn't hear my Enemies if they insisted on talking back to me.

Most importantly, I walked FAST, planting each foot solidly, focused solidly,
like a Roman soldier on the way to battle the Huns.

Once the Peace began, I started the second "leg" of my journey. I walked more slowly, more leisurely. Creative
ideas and solutions to the serious problems began to flow into my mind. I absorbed the Nature surrounding me, pausing to pick wild flowers, watch birds and squirrels, or have a “stare down” with a cow. The realization rose to the surface of my emotions that, no matter how disconcerting the present dilemma, when seen within the realm of our God-given Nature and the Eternal scheme, no problem is insurmountable. I gained the assurance that “even this shall pass away.”

The final phase of the walk was a victory celebration -- a Purpose. Bolstered by new resolve, refreshed and renewed by the clearing of m
y senses and the physical exertion, reveling in the freedom from frustration and anxiety, my steps quickened as I neared home. I was nearly always joyful – I had marched against and battled the “ghosts” of life -- and I had won.


This is connected to the Wo
rd Carnival, the focus is Marching.


S. Etole said...

Walking is so therapeutic! Great write and your little bird could be a poster for new beginnings and the faith to soar.

a joyful noise said...

This is neat! Your walk produced calmness after several turns in the road. When my kids were little, I could not leave them to walk, but we had a professional punching bag in our garage. I was able to relieve my stress by taking a few minutes to punch the bag instead of anyone else. Ha :-)

carol said...

Enjoyed your post. I have also taken walks to work out the stress in my life. And when we can pause and see God's hand in the world, touching our life, our perspective is put right.