In my first year at a new church I was walking from my home to the office, it was exactly 5 miles. It took me an hour and 10 minutes. It was a little longer than I wanted the trek to last but it did provide a great opportunity to practice my sermon, I don’t use the text I write on Wednesdays or any notes, so practicing in this way frees me to speak to the congregation in a more personal and direct manner. The walk also reduces stress, provides some fitness and exercise and given that it is all outside I regularly met people from the community, even folks from the church. The portion of the walk that occurred along the Hammonds Plains Road was literally filled with traffic, people heading to Halifax for work. I would wave at anyone who made eye contact.
Obviously someone living in Dartmouth and working in Halifax can’t walk to work, nor can the person in Sambro walk to Burnside. But there are a number of people in HRM who live within 5 kilometres of their work. I wonder why more don’t walk to and from their office.
One day, about 8 years ago, a woman passed me in her SUV on her way to the gym. The gym was half way between my home and the church. She stopped her vehicle and offered me a drive. As we drove she asked where I was going and I told her. She gave me a lecture, told me she did not have the luxury of such a long walk and that she could not afford the time. I did say that I always got to the office by 9 am. But this was not enough, the lecture continued throughout the drive.
When I got out of the SUV to continue my walk I felt I needed to bite the hand that had just fed me. I asked this woman, “How much does it cost you to work out every morning at your gym?” Hearing the amount I explained that my one hour work out each morning cost me nothing, it was free.
This morning as I was coming into Halifax from Tantallon on the Metro X I saw a member of the church I serve walking from his home in central Halifax. This man is a little older than me, he is a lawyer and his office is near the waterfront. As I observed his stride he was clearly enjoying himself, the walk was agreeing with him. I could imagine his long days would include a lot of stress and wondered how much this walk would be easing that burden.
Jesus used to move away from the crowds to get some silence, peace, alone time with God. I find walking to be such a time for me, a time to feel God in my presence and the spirit pulsing through my veins. If you are physically able to walk I commend it to you, it comes highly recommended. Walk on.