Friday, December 23, 2011

Walk or Run? Physical and Spiritual Lessons

I had dinner a couple of months ago with some friends to compare notes on our Mt Rainier climbs. In the middle of our conversation the most experienced climber said, "I just like to walk." I'm not sure why, but that remark sank deep into my psyche.

On the way home I thought, "I like to walk too" so why do I only walk/hike/run when I go somewhere? Why do I change into special clothes to do what I like to do? I walk when I am in China, Lao, Vietnam, and when I travel. What's different at home? Walking was what I thought I'd do when I could no longer run.

I left that dinner committed to walk when I could. That was in October. Since then I have made the 7-mile round trip to my office half a dozen times, the 2-mile round trip to one of my weekly small groups 3 times, and several shorter walks from the office and home to meetings at nearby Starbucks. I'm learning to walk again, which is a challenge at times in a culture that demands speed and a suburb that was built for cars.

The results?

Physically, I have actually found I am stronger on my runs, and I am as healthy as before. Walking at least once a week stretches my legs with little impact. The treks burn calories and build muscle, and when added to my Younger-Next-Year routine, I found I have not lost a thing physically.

Spiritually, I have learned again the art of slowing down. In my weekly run to Sunday I have found my walks give me time to pray, listen to other teachers, or to Pandora worship tunes. That's time I did not have/take advantage of before. When I walk to the office, I have two hours a day of prayer and meditation. I come to the office and home calmer and have thought through my day and issues facing the church.

Yes, there are the challenges of scheduling, weather, and unexpected needs for transportation, but the whole world deals with those issues every day to get where they need to be.

I have new insight into the promise of God to those who take time for the Lord to be of help, "They will fly on wings of eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint." (Isa. 40:31)

Sometimes walking is best for your heart both physically and spiritually.

Where can you walk today?

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