One of the things I missed while recently traveling was my morning walk. I was getting back in the habit after my surgery. I don’t wear earbuds and listen to a book on tape, although that might be a more efficient use of my time. Instead I use the time to listen. To listen to a voice that is usually faint but always present. The faintness is why I am always pleased when I walk on a beach or a park away from the noises of distraction — the beeping of a backing truck, the constant scream of city sirens, or the frantic hum of rush hour traffic.
My ideal walk is when I can slow down and withdraw in order to hear. It is like prayer, less about what I say, and more about what I hear. It is time set apart with God, which is like emerging on a hike from the middle of a forest onto a mountain peak. It gives me perspective and helps me see where I have been and where I am going.
Discerning God’s voice seems easier while I walk. Often it come in a series of prompts. A thought of a friend may be a prompt to call him or drop him a note, a smell of the trees brings a memory and a resolve to rediscover something from our past, or I might be prompted to write down a thought that becomes a meditation I post. I know the prompting comes from God.
I love this post, Webb. My sabbatical study in the spring is a scholarly project on walking as an invention strategy for writers. Thank you for your posts, and I’m glad you’re doing so well!