The world changes when you walk places.
I really respect the people who walk for exercise purposes, but there’s a different mentality when walking becomes your primary means of transportation. Back in North Carolina, my apartment was located so that everything –grocery store, restaurants, school, gym– was within a mile or two. In a typical week, I would use my car only once or twice because it was less hassle just to walk everywhere. The walks kept me relatively in shape, but the real benefit was how they provided so much time for contemplation, conversations with passers-by, or even a little light reading.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case in Tampa. With the church and my apartment roughly six miles apart and the days considerably fuller with appointments, walking isn’t nearly as convenient or practical as hopping in the car. Still, I find chances here and there to walk where I need to go, and whenever I do, the change is obvious.
This morning, I dropped off my car at the shop and walked the mile back to church. Along the way, I shared brief conversations with other walkers, and I waved at friends who drove by (some of whom texted me afterward to see if I needed a ride), but for the most part, my mind wandered. With each impact of my feet on the sidewalk, I thought of Jesus and his disciples walking everywhere they went. My walk was only fifteen minutes, but those thirteen men would walk for days from town to town.
In between the miracle stories in the gospels, Jesus and his followers walked. I imagine Jesus leading the group but Thomas keeping close to him, always eager to see where they were going next and maybe hear a story or two. Peter might be encouraging the others to keep up while Andrew, lost in his thoughts, tripped over every bump in the road. James and John probably raced ahead while perhaps Judas brought up the rear. What must they have all talked about? What must their attitudes have been on those walks? Did they get tired? Was the simple presence of Jesus enough to keep them going?
If you’re able, try walking somewhere in the next couple of days rather than driving. As you go, let your mind wander to the disciples and their days spent walking along with Jesus. It’ll change the way you walk.
Grace and Peace,