Two years ago, I walked the 500-mile journey across Spain, known as “The Camino Way.” I can tell you, 500 miles is a long way to walk! I experienced and learned many valuable lessons along the Way to Santiago. But perhaps the most profound of all was simple. Walking is good exercise! It is good for the body, mind and spirit.
I am told that walking is the most natural exercise for humans. We were designed to walk. The Bible describes many lessons learned while walking. Abraham learned about faith, as he and his family walked many miles towards their promised land. The children of Israel learned hard lessons while walking in the wilderness for forty years. The trek from Galilee to Bethlehem gave Joseph and Mary much time for reflection about the immanent birth of their child. And, I’ve often wondered about their thoughts while walking all the way down to Egypt with a young son.
Jesus taught His disciples many valuable lessons along the roads and paths throughout Israel. In fact, there was a rhythm to their schooling. Jesus would cause, or respond to, an event that would elicit a hundred questions in His followers minds. Then, those questions could be handled slowly and patiently during the walk to the next town or village. I suppose any of them could have written a book titled, “What I learned while walking with Jesus.” Actually, four of them did write that book. :) And finally, Jesus' last walk up the hill called Golgotha will always stand as the supreme example of sacrifice and determination.
Gail loves to walk. She started walking in earnest while training to trek part of the Camino with me and my nephew. She joined us for the last week of the journey. It is hard to describe the sense of pleasure we enjoyed while walking that ancient path. It drew us closer to one another and, to my nephew. Ever since that time, Gail and I enjoy walking together. We both now walk, not just for pleasure, but also for our health. The doctor tells Gail that walking is one of the best things she can do. So, we walk.
Last evening, we walked about six miles along the Gulf Coast around sunset. The world looks different when you’re walking. You see and hear things you miss while driving, or even biking. From the grandeur of an ocean sunset, to the comedy of a crab scurrying into its’ hole for safety, walking opens a marvelous world to those who partake. Conversations get deeper, laughter is sweeter, life moves at a discernible pace.
I’m glad God gave Gail and I the gift of walking together. As Eddie told Clark Griswold in Christmas vacation, “It’s the gift that keeps on giving, Clark!” So, Gail and I will walk together for as long as we can, whether it’s a few months, or many years. When I listen to people struggling with the issues of life, I often wonder if a good long walk would be therapeutic. God has always spoken to His people while taking a walk. If you’re looking for answers to life’s serious questions, or, if you just want to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures, perhaps it’s time to turn off the television and take a little walk.