I pray that the eyes of your heart will have enough light to see what is the hope of God’s call, what is the richness of God’s glorious inheritance among believers, and what is the overwhelming greatness of God’s power that is working among us believers. This power is conferred by the energy of God’s powerful strength.
I began walking for exercise this spring and summer. Of all the upheavals Covid-19 has wrought, one positive was a total change to my family’s schedule and routine. My morning hours opened up and, for the first time in years, those hours were mine. I didn’t have to wake anyone up to make a lunch or catch the bus. I didn’t have to remind anyone to pack their sports bag or drive anyone to school. So I started walking. My trusty walking partner, Mayo, wasn’t too sure about this new routine in the beginning. For the first week, he would look at me from a comfy teenager’s bed and try really hard to ignore my invitation to “go for a walk!”. But soon he was waiting for me behind a teenager’s closed bedroom door, anxious for me to open it and leash him up.
Over the course of days and weeks, Mayo and I expanded our walking distance and enjoyed a variety of routes around our neighborhood. Funny, a distance that had seemed very far when traveling by car, I now saw from a new perspective, and it didn’t seem far at all. These early morning jaunts gave me time to listen to a few amazing audio books, some interesting podcasts, and some great new music. I loved watching our neighborhood wake up. I relaxed into the routine of my walks and the time to myself.
In time, Mayo and I settled into a route, the distance of which was just enough to feel like I had gotten some good exercise and took just enough time to charge my batteries for the day ahead. Not surprisingly the route, and all the things on it, became familiar. The patch of black-eyed Susans here. The tilting porch railing there. Up ahead, the uneven patch of sidewalk in front of the house with the birdfeeders. I knew what was coming so I stopped looking.
Remember how I said I relaxed into the time I had to myself? That is, until my 13-year-old daughter asked if she could join me one morning. The ONLY answer to a 13-year-old asking if she can join her mom for a predawn walk is YES! So May and I set out one morning along that familiar route. As we rounded a corner a good distance into our walk, May exclaimed, “Mom, LOOK at that!”. She was pointing to a raised garden bed that wrapped around the corner of a house and was impressively rich and lush and full of produce. And as we were admiring the garden, she noticed two fruit trees on the property: one heavy with pears, the other heavy with peaches. You couldn’t miss them. In fact, you couldn’t miss the whole scene. The fruit trees were bursting, the garden was overflowing, and the reminder of God’s bounty was everywhere.
Here’s the thing. Despite having walked past this house more times than I could possibly count, I had never noticed any of it. Even as I thought I was drinking in the sounds and sights of my neighborhood, as I prided myself on enjoying the early morning light, as I imagined myself a person who notices things, look at what I had missed. And it made me reflect on what else I had missed. Where else in my life did I think I was seeing, but was actually blind? What else was right in front of me that I took no notice of? Beyond just not seeing or noticing things, were there opportunities I was missing? Were there times when I could’ve spoken up, had I seen the need? Were there situations where I could’ve been an ally, but wasn’t? Have I witnessed injustice, and looked the other way?
Since my revelatory walk with May that morning, I have walked past that garden and those trees many more times. And each time I do, I first remember and appreciate the gift of time I had with May. Then I remind myself to keep my eyes open, so that I can see what’s in front of me. I don’t want to miss a thing!
(And for those reading carefully, yes, our daughter is named May and our dog is named Mayo. This was pure coincidence!)