so I walk
Home and kids settled, I run upstairs and slip on my walking shoes, tugging at the laces. Sometimes the only thing I know is that I need God. I slip my keys and my phone in my pocket and promise to be back soon, and I move, carrying water, heavy in one hand. I’m thirsty, and the cool sips remind me that God offers me water that lives. YHWH cracked a rock open in the desert and water poured for His parched people, and for so long since, He has been our Rock.
So, there are days and there are DAYS, the kind when I feel kidnapped by life instead of sent forth, and I get distracted. Just moments ago in the car–stop and go, stop and go, and a beater with rust creeping around the headlights pulls up behind me so close I know a sudden stop will mean a wreck. In front, it’s a challenge to keep enough space between me and the next, because any open space gets swallowed up by another hurtling car, someone else trying to beat the rush. Trouble is, they’re becoming “cars” and not people–souls—precariously held in shells-on-wheels. I’m beginning to identify them not just on the basis of appearance but by their behavior–crazy person, idiot, careless…teen. And that’s when I know I’m going blind.
I was on the way to camp to pick up my kids, not ten minutes after slamming shut the black box on the desk in the kitchen, the flickering screen, the clicking keys from which these days I send millions of words. Words can be dangerous. And they can be life. Trouble is, some days I forget that at the end of the words, there are people receiving the overflow of my heart. The wifi would not cooperate. I thundered upstairs three times to reset it, and this after my favorite laptop wouldn’t power on, some kind of nope beep and then an error screen. I don’t have time for this, I thought, said, and then texted to Kevin. What do I do? I asked, but of course no immediate solution existed. I do that sometimes, without thinking about what maybe I’m interrupting when I zoom in with my problem. And then, I used up what time I had between people to login to the entire world again on a different computer.
After that, slam, and I’m driving down a six lane highway–more in some places, fuming about the side effects of hurry. Easing to a stop at a light, I watch a man with a cap like a lid, numbers shoulders-wide and torso-long down his back, 47 on a jersey. He walks across the middle of the road, weaving through a clot of cars, and I flick my eyes at the stoplight and mumble, “Now, what is he doing?” That matters more than who.he.is, because right now, that’s the detail that could potentially impact me. And all the way down the road, I’m fighting to keep my kids the gift they are and the picking up not just another thing I have to go do today. Some days it would be better to plan just to love and leave it at that.
So now I walk. I pull myself out of that dark hole, and God spreads out the sky above me—water above the water, wind-whipped clouds like furious white caps. From now on, regard no one from a worldly point of view (2 Corinthians 5:16), He says, and I gather up the delicate crepe myrtle blooms, claret against that wild sky. Tiny birds with lemon yellow feathers hop and flutter in the smooth, twisting branches. Dear child, love not with words or speech, but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18), He says, and I walk past a porch in the shade, noticing the plump cushions on the wicker chairs, the antique bird cage on the table. Someone has carefully hung two small paintings of bluebirds beside the door. Who creates a home with a porch that looks like arms flung wide? Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up, He says. The woman who thinks she knows something does not yet know as she ought to know (2 Corinthians 8: 1-2). A woman passes on the other side of the street, lifting a hand. Her bermuda shorts are as blue as the sky. The skin on her cheeks looks cracked, engraved with lines like a map. All those deep, dusty roads lead to her eyes. I have seen this woman dozens of times before and think maybe she’s a pilgrim like me. I lift my hand too, suddenly realizing that I don’t know her name, only the tiny house from which she emerges, the thin tin Welcome sign hanging beside her front door, the way she sometimes collects newspapers and mail for her neighbor across the street. Houses line these streets, thick, like those clotted cars on the highway. Hers is just one life out of hundreds that intersect my own. What we see are lives not just people, and God loves even the most broken lives. Every life is a life He wants to call His own—the person driving that rusty beater, number 47 with his backward hat. For a moment, I gaze at the sky, thinking maybe these deep, dusty roads all lead to God’s eyes. Not one life escapes His notice. Sunlight glitters in bright flecks in the asphalt, and I sip my water, trying to listen. What else distinguishes our lives except that He is with us (Exodus 33:16)?
And He walks with me. That old tune drifts through my mind, as I come to the end of the road and turn to walk another.
He walks with me
He talks with me
He tells me I am His own.