Monday, April 14, 2008

Walking the Walk

My earlier blog brought a congratulatory note from longtime friend Joe Allison. Joe has spent much of his life in the publishing world. He called me as a cyber net pioneer reminiscent of Daniel S. Warner and his magazine publishing in the late 1800s. Warner was a patron saint of our Faith Community.
Since I have the name, and have lived under the shadow of Warner’s quest for holiness and unity, I considered that when I named this blog site. Thanks Joe, for the good word, which brings me to where I am today as I accelerate a little on this c-net interstate.
I want to be faithful to Warner’s quest for holiness and unity and that brings me to one of my favorite preoccupations - walking, walking the walk.
I’ve always walked. During more than four decades of my working life I walked off and on for the pleasure of I. I also knew I spent too many hours reading, studying, writing, visiting, and other administrative activities.
I never forgot the peaceful exhilaration I experienced as a teen on the shores of Lake Michigan, walking in a snowstorm. With flakes floating down in every direction, the snow crunching crisply underfoot, I experienced peace, especially on a cold night after a basketball game. Later, as a young Airman accompanying my Irish-Cherokee, we took leisurely evening strolls in San Antonio, accompanied by the ringing of church bells.
Today, I walk slower, with more difficulty, but with intent and determination--like this blogsite. And, when I can’t walk the way I want, I walk however I can, but I walk! And l will keep walking--until I can no longer put one foot in front of the other.
In my youth, I walked by necessity. During our early years of marriage, I walked or rode public transit. Now I walk--by necessity you could say--and a bit philosophically--by intent.
In 1985, I shattered my heel and crunched my back. After escaping my crutches, I tired of my son scolding me: “quit slouching, dad; stand up straight.”
“I am standing straight!” I would snap, squaring my shoulders and stretching as tall as possible, and striding as rigidly-straight as I could (except I was a little shorter now).
Having lots of ankle pain and limited mobility, I discovered regular walks left my ankle more flexible, and with less pain--so I walked with purposed intent.
Then I discovered that a brisk walk refreshed me better than a quick nap. Regular walking routine brought pleasure. I no longer walk with that rhythmic “Hup, two, three, four. . .” that I learned in the military, but I walk often--however I can--thankful to God that I’m able to walk.
I remember encouraging my aging father to walk--improve his aging process. I wanted to keep him around as long as I could, but all I heard was, “but my knees hurt.”
That frustrated and angered me. I didn’t doubt his pain, but I saw no reason to shorten his life chained in his Lazy Boy. “Walk!--at least a little--its good for the soul.” Walk up and down the driveway! Walk around the block! Take your cane, if you need to, but walk … at least walk a little.
Instead, he died alone in the hospital, early Sunday morning, the last day of 1990, at 85--the same age at which his mother (my much-loved Grandma) died, but she had walked to town that same day! So I‘ve always said, “I’d just as soon die with my boots on!”
Pain fills my every step now days, and--if I need to--I take a pain pill before starting. I already know that when I get up to turn on the coffee pot in the morning, I’ll be stiff as a board. But I will walk.
My walking for physical therapy and good mental health is like my walk of faith: not much gain without some pain. Recently, Pastor Jim preached on the importance of good attitudes about life‘s uncertainties. I have plenty of those, but negative attitudes add nothing to my wellness and I accept that.
Rather, I translate pastor’s text in James 4:14-15 as “keep walking--in the faith that when I do what is right, God will be there doing what He does best--whatever is best for me. Therefore, I will trust Him, knowing that if I don’t understand His answer, I can lean on Him as my answer.
As Paul told Timothy, I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him (2 Tim. 1:12).
They say seeing is believing, but I don’t have to peek around the corner to see exactly where I’m going. Sight is not faith! Fact is, sometimes I‘d rather not see, but tell you what: I’ll keep walking--determined actually--because I believe that is the only healthy way.
I‘m not a quitter! Sometimes I wonder why I have to exist with such an insipid bank account, but then I realize how much I’m learning to trust God for those daily needs, rather than that regular paycheck. What I preached to the church for 45 years, I now have to practice.
Actually, I’m finding it is more fun--living by faith (I‘ll share some of the blessings sometime). I’m happy--relatively contented--and frankly I see no reason for not walking. A sore back and a gimpy ankle may hinder my physical walk, but I pray I do not lose the will to walk. And while I’m walking that walk, may I never lose sight of questing for holiness of life and unity of all God’s children.
Would you care to walk a ways with me for further conversation? Wayne

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