Walking through life, navigating obstacles, taking on challenges… KEEP WALKING

One of my current joys in life is the 2-3 days/week morning walk around the Marina with our Grace, & the newest granddaughter, Eloise Joanne. I joined her walking routine shortly after Eloise was born, & I greatly anticipate our talks, both in-depth & silly; about meaning-of-life stuff & the things that are trivial.  More often than not, we end up talking about spiritual things, including points of life where we’re being challenged to grow, things God is talking to us about, obstacles we’re experiencing, fun family dynamics, friendships, & childhood trauma… just to name a few.

Monday we were laughing about the every-day interactions we have as we traverse the Marina 2x each morning… (She sometimes goes 3x… she’s a beast!) & I joked, “All the obstacles & interruptions we face on this walk remind me of the 80’s video game ‘Paperboy,’ where you try to finish your daily route while dodging people, dogs, road hazards, & crazy situations.” We came up with several things we run into EVERY walk, as well as an “Ease of Dodging” score from 1-10, with “1” being the easiest to dodge, & “10” being the grabby octogenarian grandma who SEES the baby & wants to TOUCH the baby…

  • Dogs; dogs on leashes; dogs off leashes; dogs in strollers; dogs being carried by their owners; dogs being chased by their owners; dogs running free. 6/10
  • Attack geese & other water fowl... you know the ones on the side of the Marina closest to I-80? The ones that must get regularly fed by SOMEBODY because they seem to look at every passerby as a sure-fire food source as they waddle & hustle towards the paths, occasionally reaching out their long necks to attempt to snap at us. 5/10
  • Attack squirrels: somebody feeds these things, because they have NO fear of humanity. They also see us as a source of snacks, because they inevitably dodge in & out of traffic, hoping beyond hope that we’ll drop them something scrumptious.  in the back of my head, I remember my iFit trainer, John Peel, telling me about his trek through the Grand Canyon where he was repeatedly bitten by aggressive squirrels, seeking snacks. 5/10
  • Poop: The dogs, ducks, geese, mud-hens, squirrels, & other animals leave their messes behind. If the dogs have their human with them, they will usually pick up their mess, but more often than not, the piles are left on or near the walking path. 7/10
  • Pedestrians: on any given day, the walking path is full of people, walking either clockwise or counter-clockwise around the Marina, all at varying speeds; some painstakingly slow, others going like the proverbial bat out of Hades. Some groups walk shoulder to shoulder, blocking (most of) the path, ensuring we have to either RUSH or SLOW way down to get around them. 7/10
  • Cyclists: Hopefully, if you’re approached by a cyclist, they have a bell & let you know they are coming; sometimes you just sense imminent danger, turn around, & virtually dive for your life. One guy MUST be trying to set the Marina land-speed record. 7/10
  • Skaters: usually these are roller-bladers, but occasionally, they rock old-school roller-skates. See the notes above on pedestrians & cyclists. 7/10
  • Moms w/Strollers: these are the easiest to dodge; they (like us) are hyper-aware of their surroundings & are enjoying themselves to the max, breathing in the fresh, clean air, all the while hoping & praying their little one(s) remain asleep, or at least content. 1/10.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses: every day I’ve walked with Grace, I see at least 2 groups of 5 (sometimes as many as 20 people) setting up tables with signs & plenty of Watchtower literature to distribute. These are usually easier to dodge, as they’re stationary, & we’re moving on a mission. 3/10
  • Grabby Octogenarian Grandma: inevitably the “El Guapo” of obstacles; she sees the stroller from a distance & begins to determinedly totter her way towards it, moving ever closer to the precious cargo inside… I’ve learned to position myself on the inner-lane of the walking path lane to provide a human grandpa buffer to (hopefully) allow Grace & baby Eloise to hug the edge of the path until they can race to freedom. 10/10
  • Naruto-Running Man: Yes. He exists. He hangs out on the volleyball beach, usually by himself, (although we did see him with either a) a captive or b) a buddy. He does exercise moves that most resemble activities I’ve seen in anime (hence the Naruto run); he also does chanting & randomly yells out as he exercises. Once when we got close, he earnestly (& a little fiercely) questioned us: “Do you love the Lord Jesus Christ & follow Him?” We assured him we did… that was the right answer & he resumed his activities. Most days if we pass him & he makes eye contact, I just say “Good morning” & keep going. 5/10

With all those real life obstacles, interruptions & challenges that appear EVERY DAY at the Marina, you might ask, “WHY do you go then?”  My answer is: “Because its WORTH IT! The time with Grace, the interactions with Eloise Joanne, the fresh air, the great talks, the shared time/space/experience that helps grow & cement relationships… its WORTH IT.”

And, this daily walk is a metaphor for life… every day we encounter ‘versions’ of the obstacles (some funny, some really difficult) that “get in the way” of what we’re trying to do. They may make our lives more challenging, & even make them difficult. In our walk with God, there is a never-ending parade of things & people & events & STUFF that could trip us up, distract us, or sometimes even cause us to stop walking all together.

My encouragement to you:  keep your eyes on the prize, the REASON & the MOTIVATION for WHY you’re walking –> Jesus.  And keep going.

Just watch out for the grabby grandmas…

A routine disrupted… Or embracing (the idea of) being flexible.

I’ve got an  ‘inside morning spot’ where I sit (most) days to drink my coffee, read, & generally slowly ramp up for the day. I’ve also got an ‘outside morning spot’ which I love to use when the weather permits &/or when it’s not SOAKED like it was today. But I digress…

After settling in to my spot on the couch, I had a thought. “My left hip & leg really flex into this spot pretty easily, with little to no effort on my part”. My mind wandered a bit to my other side, my right hip & leg, which aren’t quite as flexible, something I’ve known for a long time, but also had recently confirmed by the testimony of two witnesses. Those being the great physical therapy staff at the midtown office of Nevada Physical Therapy.  They gave me some exercises that I do (just about) every day to improve my right hip mobility, but it is a slooooow process. Which leads me to this morning.

More thoughts: “What if my left leg & hip are more flexible because of my morning routine & because of how I tuck my leg into the couch under me every day? And if that has helped me (& I hadn’t given a thought to sitting a certain way to improve mobility) MAYBE I could sit on the opposite side of the couch & do the same with my RIGHT leg & see what happens.”

And so I did.

And I felt it in the hip joint immediately. Yes. That is going to be very helpful. Just had to switch ends of the couch.

I haven’t told theBean yet that I’ll be in HER morning spot, but I’m pretty sure she’ll be just fine with it.

Sitting in the new morning spot, feeling my hip get stretchy, musing about the lessons & insights that just ‘appear’ in our days when we’re listening to the nudges of the Holy Spirit… made me think how sometimes our ‘stuck’ or ‘sticky’ areas of life just require a change in perspective or a shift in routine. A subtle stretching of the auto-pilot lives we can be prone to living. I finished my morning reading with a prayer, asking God to give me His point of view on ME, on my life, & on the areas in my life that are stuck, in a rut, &/or are in a ‘maybe this is just the way it is,” or ‘maybe this is as good as it gets,’ kind of mode. He’s got a different way of looking at me that I can sometimes sense He’s inviting me to consider.

My prayer for me (& for you) today is that the Holy Spirit would bring to your mind your everyday behaviors, routines, & patterns that He would like to interrupt. Not just for the sake of interruption or to introduce chaos, but rather to help us combat practices that may foster inflexibility, stuck-ness, &/or an unexamined life.

Think about taking a new route to work. Sitting in a new spot for your morning/evening times. Add a new exercise, or even better, add some focused stretching to your life (YouTube has some great ideas on this.) And as you do, look for the areas God is doing something in/through/around you. Even if/when it stretches you.