I love to go for walks. The other night was a beautiful Fall evening. My family had gone in different directions and no one was home but me. I was tempted to ease back into my favorite chair with a cup of my favorite strawberry vanilla tea and enjoy a good book, but I have been trying to walk more. Four little words kept reeling through my head… "If not now, when?" I had no excuses. Beautiful evening, no immediate family responsibilities. I changed my clothes and headed out the door.
I have a route I usually take. It is pretty and peaceful and refreshes my spirit every time. That night, however, I took a different route. Instead of walking through quaint neighborhoods and into a picturesque park, I turned the opposite direction and decided to walk back up one of the oldest main streets in our town.
Lesson #1: It’s amazing what you can see when you slow down and walk. I saw things that I have never noticed driving by. My first surprise… a notorious little business, known for its music and assorted "paraphernalia" has a drive thru now! I couldn’t believe it. Honestly, it could have been there for years, but I have never noticed it. Something about it struck me as so ironic that this store that is known so much for the "experience" inside, now caters to their customers by providing speedy service, via a drive-thru lane.
I kept walking. Less than a block from that store are beautiful old homes, many proudly flying our flag, with well manicured yards and Fall mums in a myriad of colors. Front walkways welcome you onto porches where a variety of seating beckons us to linger. Tonight, however, despite the perfect temperatures and lack of Kansas wind, rain, ice or snow, no one was out on their front porches. Lesson #2: Taking the time to sit and relax is becoming a lost art. Even the multitude of squirrels that I saw seemed to be in a hurry!
It certainly is easy to get the judgmental, "what-is-this-world-coming-to?" attitude. I thought back to the music store with the drive thru lane that I was so quick to laugh at, and then thought about all the drive thru restaurants that we frequent, sacrificing the experience around our table for quick and easy. I thought about the empty front porches and realized I was not home sitting on mine. And though, part of the neighborhood I walked through was not nearly as pretty as my usual route, my eyes were opened to things that I had never noticed before.
Lesson #3: You can see a lot when you leave the familiar and head in a new direction. As I finished up my walk, I decided that I’ll keep my judgments to myself and work on my own life first. I’ll make an effort to take more walks, sit more often on my front porch and enjoy eating together around a table with my family more often.
As I’ve already started the detour from "Doer Drive" to "Being Boulevard," I am realizing that a change in scenery is quite refreshing! Here’s to finding new "scenic routes" in the midst of our ordinary days!
Walking in Abundance,