Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Going With The Current

I go for a walk or a bike ride every morning.  What ever suits my fancy.  Today, I preferred to walk.  Quite often I encounter a friend and we walk together.  I get better exercise on those days.  I don't walk with anyone who doesn't out walk me, speed-wise.  Many of these people are older than I, and still they push my endurance to keep up with them.  We can scarcely have a conversation I'm puffing so hard.  I've thought a lot about this phenomena.  One friend even told me I was going to have to pick up the pace or she flat out wouldn't deign to join me.  I suggested she might slow down to accommodate an old man, but she refused saying, "That would defeat the purpose."  That settled it for me.  I let her go on without me; for indeed it would defeat the purpose.  Mine.

Of course I hope for some aerobic and muscle development when I walk, but that is not the entirety of my purpose as it seems to be for the others.  There is some health benefit to strolling as well and speed walking.  I stroll for the benefit of my heart as well as my heart.  It strengthen's my core as well as my core.  It is as much a spiritual exercise as it is a physical one.  I may never be able to run a marathon.  Unless you think enduring to the end is a race.  I don't like races.  Who am I trying to beat?  What am I trying to prove?

Today on my walk I went by the ball parks on my way to stroll along the Kid's Canal.  There, I found an abandoned softball.  It was plastic, including plastic vacu-formed laces in stead of real ones.  It appeared to be regulation size, but much too light.  I picked it up and amused myself tossing it from hand to hand as I walked up the highway.  Part way up the road I was joined by a turkey who walked along with me for a stretch.  I gobbled, but he didn't.  I nodded, "You're welcome!"  To a passer-by who seemed amused to see two turkeys strolling up the road together.  At least our necks match.

At the canal, I tossed the ball into the stream and watched it float with the current.  My heart rate dropped as I waited for it to meander through the slow spots.  So did my blood pressure.  The ball took a loop or two through an eddy but persisted on its journey after a short delay.  A fly hitched a ride for several hundred feet.  I imagined I knew what the fly was thinking and that he was having a splendid time!  He rode the ball right to the edge of a waterfall and flew away at the last moment.  I envied him.  In my imagination I was he and the falls were Iguazu.  I wonder if anyone ever rafted over the edge carrying a hang-glider.  Wouldn't that be a rush.

I know, I sound like an adrenalin junkie.  I'm not.  Remember, I'm a stroller, not a walker, jogger or runner.  Watching a ball float down a canal is plenty of excitement for me.

At the bottom of the falls, a pile of trash had accumulated.  I worried that the ball would get hung up.  Not to worry.  He rolled with the punches and found his way through.  He'd transformed in my mind from an it to a he.  And I began to think about my life.  I too am floating along in the stream of life.  Occasionally, I've drifted into an eddy and stopped making progress.  Now and then I've got myself tangled up in the brush along the bank.  There have been scary moments as I've plunged into the depths of uncertainty.  I've even set my heart on something upstream and fought the current only to exhaust myself in fruitless effort.

I thought about retrieving the ball as I departed the canal, but felt like I was interfering with its destiny.  Maybe he will float down a ditch and wind up in someone's garden.  And maybe someone tired of weeding will have a little fun playing catch.  Or maybe he will get buried in the mud and be discovered in some archaeological dig 12,000 years from now.  Remind me to watch for him in the great movie in the sky at the end of the world.  I really would like to know, after all, what really does become of my little well rounded friend.

The stream of life is bound for a Celestial destination, it is a plan of salvation after all.  Every time I bail out on the bank, tread water in an eddy (a metaphor shared by a 12 Stepping friend) or fight the current, I become exhausted and frustrated.  But when I accept the will of the Lord and go with the flow of His intention for me, I seem to relax and enjoy the ride.

I friend of mine, just re-entered the flow and this morning reported on Facebook:  Good day.  Good content day.

Maybe, she's discovered Jesus' sweet invitation:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28-30)
Perhaps there is a place for earnest, high intensity walking.  But there seems to be an anxious desperation in it and I prefer the relaxed, peaceful, fulfilling flow of a stroll.

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