While Strolling Through the Park One Day

I feel a new tradition brewing.   Within the last month I’ve taken a few “prayer/senses walks” on Sunday afternoons.  I have to give them this moniker because any other time I’m walking, I’m speeding with a mission in mind.  The mission of the prayer/senses walk, however, is simple yet challenging:  there is no mission.

I purposely wear flip-flops and leave my sunglasses and iPod at home.  The less supportive shoes force me to slow down and the freed senses allow me to drink in my surroundings.  I am walking purely for the pleasure of walking, not to burn calories or reach a destination.  Suddenly I am acutely aware of birds chirping, cars revving, wind whistling, and air filling my lungs and escaping again.  And were those shrubs always such a vivid green?  Even the air looks crisper as I permit my eyes to do more than keep me from bumping into things.  I can smell the soil, the rich scent of growth, the heady and pungent perfumes from varieties of foliage.  I gawk openly at beautiful houses I have seen dozens of times before but never really looked at.  I let my imagination wander, picturing what the homes’ interiors look like and what their inhabitants’ lives are like.

During yesterday’s walk, I found myself thinking how it is so important to “indulge” in such things on a regular basis.  But indulge was the wrong word — its connotation is that of something that is “bad” for us but we give in to every now and then as a treat.  Our senses were not given to us with a cap; e.g., only use your nose to check if the milk has spoiled, your eyes to avoid collisions, ears to process necessary information, and touch to get from point A to B.  We still have 90% of our sensory capacity left after such “necessary” functions to live an abundant life. 

I found myself thinking, too, This is an important time to remember what life is really about.  Again, I corrected myself.  No, this is what life is all about.  Not corporate ladders, the Joneses, diets, or life goals.  It’s about wonder and appreciation, communion with our Creator.  I forgot all about those self-improvements I want to make, or my “imperfections.”  Instead, I marveled at the amazing complexity that is my body; with each breath and step I was overwhelmed with the realization that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I rejoiced in the moment, thanking God for my design and its ability to enjoy creation.

This walk may not have been productive in the literal sense.  I had nothing to show per se for the time spent.  Yet.  Senses were awakened that had been running solely on default, creativity was re-energized as my mind explored “What if” and “I wonder,” a connection was established as I communed with my Creator, and the joy and peace I felt surpassed any that productivity could have generated.

Sundays may just become my most productive day of the week.


3 thoughts on “While Strolling Through the Park One Day

  1. One of the things I enjoy about cycling alone is what you have described here…no agenda (weight loss, getting somewhere quickly, etc.) just a slow ride enjoying the world around and taking in its beauty. It provides a more appropriate perspective to life.

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