Every morning I go for a walk with our dog, Bear. Up until about a week ago, I treated these walks as exercise, so Bear and I would speed-walk as quickly as we could around the block. However, recently I have begun walking more slowly, more prayerfully. As much as I need the exercise, I also need time each day to slow down and pray. Bear and I are now taking a more leisurely stroll in the mornings. Instead of looking down to make sure I don’t stumble on the uneven cracks in the sidewalk, I am looking up to see the birds in the trees and the beautiful sunrise at the end of the block. Instead of listening to NPR on my headphones, I am listening to geese honking and leaves crunching. Instead of constant motion, Bear has time to sniff the yards and fire hydrants along the way (pure joy for a dog!). Slowing down is waking us up – opening my eyes to see, my ears to hear, and for Bear, his nose to sniff God’s glorious creation. The peace with which I return from walking Bear starts my day from a space of much needed calm rather than hurry. I invite you to give it a try. Enjoy a prayerful, leisurely walk (with or without a dog) so that you can see, hear (and maybe even sniff) God’s presence in your daily life.
Many of you have heard the observation that God is dog spelled backwards. Well, my dog is certainly a source of divine inspiration for me. I am grateful for the opportunity to slow down and enjoy these sacred moments of walking Bear.