Whether I inherited the tendency for ambulatory speediness from my fast-paced, big city East Coast parents or it is just a side effect of my lifelong addiction to caffeine, there is no question that my penchant for posthaste perambulation has gotten me into trouble. Consider the following quotes from my friends
Barrett (friend): Bro, I honestly don’t know anyone who leaves a social situation faster than you do. I took, like, five seconds to go to the counter and grab some sugar for my coffee, looked over to say ‘goodbye’ to you, and you were gone. ‘Okay,’ I thought. ‘Guess the conversation was really over.’
Zach (friend): Simpatico, you know I love you man, but when we all decide it’s time to go, you are out the door and across the street before we’ve even put our coats on. Slow down, buddy.
John (friend and fellow seminary student): whoa, whoa, WHOA! What in God’s name is wrong with you? This ain’t the Indy 500! You in the South. You got to learn to stroll.
As hard as it is to admit it, they are right. I know that my tendency to walk too fast—and hence to walk in front of people and leave them behind—is rude. And I don’t want to be rude. I want to be someone who honors other people with all of my actions—whether it is the way I talk or the way I walk.
The problem is, I can’t even tell how fast I’m walking. When I think I’m taking a leisurely stroll, other people think I’m striding on Tony Little’s Gazelle machine. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s like the minute I realize I have to walk somewhere, my brain fires off the command, “Warp factor 9! Engage!”
But I’m not going to give up. Not just because walking too fast is rude, but because walking in a calm and unhurried fashion fosters creative thinking and benefits our spiritual lives. Julia Cameron, the novelist, playwright, and author of The Artist’s Way, once wrote:
We tend to think of creativity as an intellectual construct, something rather disembodied and vaguely “spiritual.” This notion is nonsense. Creativity is not something ethereal. It is something very real, an energy that best serves us when it is grounded. And we ground our creativity through our bodies, most easily and most sensibly through walking.
Someone with unparalleled intellectual prowess and spiritual depth, Saint Augustine himself, would have readily agreed with Cameron. When attempting to work through a complicated philosophical or theological issue, or resolve an issue of faith in his own heart, he would often say, “Solvitur ambulando,” which means “it is solved by walking.” And C.S. Lewis, the atheist turned Christian apologist and author of the Narnia books, took his first real steps of faith after he and J.R.R. Tolkien had a conversation while strolling along a little path near Oxford’s campus called Addison’s Walk.
So, whatever it takes, I’m going to learn to walk at a pace that is both socially acceptable and spiritually beneficial. After all, if I learn to walk slowly, I might learn to live calmly in this frenetic and fast-pasted world—to walk with faith and confidence in Jesus.
How am I going to do this? I don’t have an elaborate strategy, just a simple plan.
Two words, my friends: ankle weights.
Question(s): What benefits have you experience from walking? Where do you like to walk?