I told a coworker on Friday I was weary. Not just tired, weary, stripped bare. And then a dear friend went from perfectly fine on Friday night to emergency surgery Saturday night, so we spent 6 hours that evening in hospital waiting rooms with his wife and kids. By the time church was over on Sunday, the weariness was physical, mental, and spiritual. I felt dried out, wrung out.
But I only had 2,500 steps in. I shoot for 10,000. I knew I should take a walk, but I just didn’t think I could. A walk for me is a power walk. Any walk. Long strides, fast pace. I couldn’t do it. The weariness weighted me down, held me in my chair, even though it was a gorgeous promise-of-spring day.
At Sunday lunch, Les and I had talked about purpose, about following Christ, about not getting distracted. “That’s the first point of my book,” I said, “focus on a fixed point.” And I realized it was part of my weariness.
A walk would give me time to think about what I was focusing on, where I was distracted. I headed out promising to meander. Stroll, really. It was still cool out, requiring my coat. I forced myself to keep my hands in my pocket so I wouldn’t pump them or increase my speed.
I buried my phone in my pocket so I wouldn’t keep checking my step count. And I was determined to be present (another point in my book). I kept reining in my mind, which is prone to wander— focusing on the to-do list, or worrying about Monday, or starting mentally script this blog post.
Instead, as I meandered I concentrated on what I could sense:
I listened. The birds telling each other it was finally spring. The dog barking at my approach. The angry hum of power yard equipment. The laughter of children. The squawks of the ducks frightened by my approach to the pond.
I let my eyes feast on beauty. The tiny wildflowers buried in the grass. The first crocuses and daffodils in front of southeast-facing homes. The colors and styles of each craftsman-style home in the new development. The fresh buds on the trees.
I felt the wind blowing through my hair. I rubbed my fingers over the flannel gloves stored in my pockets. I fingered the hard smooth metal of the phone, resisting the urge to pull it out.
I smelled spring. Thankfully, because it was a Sunday, I didn’t smell that special Lancaster County aroma of liquified manure spread on soon to be fertile fields by the Amish.
As I stared at each house, each yard, each tree, I relaxed and refueled. I breathed in beauty and breathed out the hopelessness.
I did manage to get in 10,000 steps. It took almost twice as long as usual.
But the loss of time produced the loss of weariness.
I’m okay with that trade off.
I need to meander more often.