With a bit of added margin in my schedule, I’ve found time to exercise again and it’s been a great stress reliever. Regular physical activity is one of the first things to go when my work schedule heats up and I didn’t realize how beneficial it had been until I went without it and then re-started.
Obviously, there is physical value in my daily, sometimes twice a day, long walks. But, the most treasured thing for me is mental – allowing myself time to think, without distraction, focusing on the sound and feel of my footsteps on the pavement – away from household chores, teaching demands, conversations, phone calls, emails – just me, doing my thing for the moment. It’s made me wonder how often I ever do just ONE thing. How often am I multi-tasking, doing one thing, yet thinking of my next steps simultaneously?
My first few days back to walking were interesting. Because of the COVID 19 virus and the mandate to ‘stay-at-home’ – there were so many more people outside than I’d ever seen before! Dog walkers, babies in strollers, couples, teenagers. I noticed a small, but weird tension whenever I approached someone on the sidewalk – there was an unspoken quick decision that passed between us – until one of us would suddenly step off the sidewalk to give the other a wide berth. We are all so conscious of the recommended 6 feet of separation.
At first, this took me by surprise. I felt defensive, almost offended. I‘m not sick, you know. I’m not coughing or sneezing. Look – I’m exercising – isn’t that what healthy people do? It reminded me of the Biblical accounts of lepers having to go about shouting, “Unclean! Unclean!,” so others could heed the warning. Sometimes people would raise their hand in a quick greeting, but usually eyes were averted and paces quickened.
Many days into it now, I notice a change. People are still moving out of each other’s paths, but greetings are exchanged with a smile. Folks wave and say, “Good morning!” and “Hello – stay well!” We have learned to live within these strange new parameters. We are adjusting to social distancing mandates without giving up our kindnesses. We are looking out for the needs of others and wishing one another well.
I’m reminded of all the virtues we value: love, learning, maturity, courage…to only name a few…these only happen when we are willing to think about things differently, make room for new ideas and people, and face new situations head on. Today my soul was at peace and filled with joy as I noticed the people around me as I walked. It seemed fitting to observe these things today – the day Christians recognize as the day Jesus made the most incredible change of all, becoming the ultimate sacrifice, that would make freedom and new beginnings possible for all of mankind.
Jesus’ death was shocking. Staggering. Unbelievable. Somewhat like our days feel to us lately. And then, three days later, the ultimate completion of His mission – He rose to life again and conquered sin and death. Let us also hold out hope. Change is hard, but, as long as we are are alive, making adjustments, re-focusing, improving, growing, learning, loving – all are possible because of the freedom we have – if we are in Christ. (If you are not sure what it means to be ‘in’ Christ, please visit my invitation page to read more, or feel free to email me. 🙂
For now, we can keep putting one foot in front of the other, showing kindness to those on our path, allowing them space, as we make progress on our own journey. Happy Resurrection Sunday, friends!