After I woke this morning at seven-something to the rattling of a door handle and the insistent knocking by my toddler daughter, I felt this almost immediate compulsion to get up, get dressed, and go for a walk. It was like a record on repeat in my head: Get up, get dressed, go for a walk. I tried to reason it away. My devotional/Bible Study was waiting for me on the bedside table; I couldn’t go for a walk when I needed to spend time with God before the madness of the day began. (Yes, even my vacations have mad days, especially when I come back to visit my family.) And then I remembered my prayer from last night. I had specifically asked God to draw me away this week, to draw me away for moments with Him.
And it pinged in my heart that He was answering.
So I got dressed, pulled on my sneakers, left my phone on the bed, told my parents and Bizzy I was going for a walk, and set off down the drive, out the gate, and down the road.
This is a road that I walked or rode every day for thirteen years of my life. The street my parents live on, that I lived on, has gotten very crowded. Houses now press close together on what used to be overgrown lots of land and a large playing field. The open space that I used to feel in my world has contracted, become constricted. Though maybe that’s just because I have grown? My feet were a little unsteady on the uneven ground of the roadside (there are no sidewalks around here) but it still felt familiar and I found my sea legs soon enough. I reminded myself of memories as I walked.
A cousin lived there.
Another cousin lives that way.
A friend lived there for a while.
The school is that way.
I passed the spot where I would get mobbed by nesting nightingales in the spring, even though the tree that was there is long gone now.
I walked myself out of my neighborhood and down the road, busy with cars and school buses headed to and fro, to the beach where the boats launch. I walked right up to the water, standing on the rocky shore to feel its cool morning air and hear its lap against the rocks, the dock, and the boat launch. I haven’t been that close to the ocean in at least two years. Eventually, I walked back up and sat on the wall the separated the boat launch from the sand and tidal pools. The bright-green mid-shallows and dark-blue deeps where the sandbar drops off just beyond were full of boats making ready to leave, a huge difference from my childhood and teenage years. Back then, this part of the beach was usually quiet, the water empty of anything but the occasional small fishing boat and sea-bathers. There was one boat at the dock taking on passengers for a morning snorkel tour. Scuba boats were loading on their air tanks. Street vendors were setting up their tents and wares in the parking lot for the day’s work, talking back and forth as they did. A man selling conch shells on the corner was cutting open water-full green coconuts, his machete beating out a steady rhythm until the tough nut’s top gave way.
Perhaps you think I have some grand spiritual revelation that I am working up to here, having been called away by God and all, but I don’t. All I have to show for my time there is an exercised body and slightly easier breathing. I just sat there, taking everything in, remembering what this corner of the world and what used to be my life is like. The morning was cool, the sun bright but not hot, and the breeze off the water was comforting. What I got out of this was a bit of calm, a bit of time to myself, some soft silent words exchanged with God, and the gentle reminder of peace in nature. Perhaps what God was calling me away to this morning was rest. Rest that I and my empty cup and dwindling spoon drawer have so desperately needed recently. Rest and refreshment and refilling and revitalizing.
Perhaps what God was calling me away to this morning was rest. Rest that I and my empty cup and dwindling spoon drawer have so desperately needed recently. Rest and refreshment and refilling, even if just bit by bit.
Keep calling me away, God. I’m listening.