I know a woman who walks every day. I see her outside my office window, and on my drive to the coffee shop. She walks the town square, and up and down the streets. Miles, probably. Even in the snow and rain, I see her.
When I lived in California, I was that woman. I liked dusk best, because it was quiet, and the colors came in tender pinks and blues. I walked past houses and dogs and marinas, finally stopping at a bench near the dog park, to sit and pray, and look at the moss which covered the oak trees. I stayed until the sun set over Hidden Valley Lake. My soul soaked up that time, healing from things that had come undone.
Now I live in Iowa, on the other side of that healing. I encounter faithfulness every day in the form of warm hugs and “Morning, baby.” I marvel at the life I have been given, post-loss. A life that for a long time felt impossible. I no longer take walks to survive, and maybe that is why it is easy to neglect them in the winter, retreating into a shelter of space heaters and house socks, hibernating until the first bud breaks through the ice.
But she keeps walking. I saw her as I was racing from my car to the post office, hoping to beat winter before its shiver seeped into my boots. Even in the snow, she walks, calm and content, as though the rhythm of her routine keeps her warm. She is a woman of prayer, and I imagine her lifting a different name up to God with each step.
I want to be more like her. I want to learn to walk in the cold. For now, I buy houseplants, scattering them on every ledge and surface that gets light. We were at Trader Joe’s yesterday when my husband saw me sneak an english ivy into our cart. “For my desk,” I said, and he chuckled, shaking his head.
My spearmint plant reaches for the sun through my laundry room window, and I think that creation often understands God better than I do. If man does not worship Jesus as King, “the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40). The winds know His voice. The waves fear him. My Christmas cactus, sitting still and green beside my desk lamp, breathes and groans with creation, under the weight of this winter, anticipating the new earth to come.
Listen to this sketch