Second close-up of pictureWhat’s your idea of a good walk? One that takes you through your neighborhood, visiting with friends along the way? A rapid-paced, perspiration-inducing bit of exercise around a track? A great accomplishment on a “bad day”: less pain from chair to sofa? Or, is it something else, entirely?

When I was first diagnosed with lupus, I had to give up playing tennis because it was too hard on my very painful joints. My rheumatologist told me to walk, instead. I’ve always liked to walk, so I followed his advise and was able to keep moving. Slowly and sometimes not very much. But I moved.

Since those early, painful days, I’ve applied the concept of “walking” to other things in my life. So often, in our times before a catastrophic diagnosis, we’re used to multi-tasking, hurrying through our schedule, doing things for others from sun up to sundown. “After,” sometimes we have to learn to walk…all over again.

In this sense, “walking” means slowing down. Not piling too many things into one day. Not doing things that will hurt us, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. It might mean, on those very bad days, observing the world instead of engaging in it. It might mean putting aside the very long prayer list and just sitting quietly with God, slowly opening up to the stillness and the whisper of the Holy Spirit that can fill the silence.

A good walk for us might not have anything to do with motion, but everything to do with emotion. We savor moments with a good friend or alone. We balance frustration with gratitude, disappointment with patience.

Since I’ve re-imagined what a good walk really is, I find that I can relax more. Enjoy smaller things more. Have more time for simple joy, calm, quiet, and fellowship. And on those pain-ridden or flare-filled days, when fatigue is truly heavy, I can turn my mind to the many good walks I have had, remember, praise God, and be comforted.



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