I have walked half my way through Lent. The words from the King James Version of Ephesians bubble up in me: “Walk in Love! as Christ loved us.” (Eph. 5: 2)
I was given such a surprising and welcome gift when I told my husband that I was choosing to walk this Lent. He replied without missing a beat that he would walk with me! On Easter Sunday we will have been married 45 years, and we have walked many roads and climbed many hills together, some of them geographic. Our approaches to physical walking are utterly different: he loves the outdoors, savors the weather and terrain, is energized by wind, sun and water. I on the other hand would always opt for indoor warmth and a cup of something hot. However, when he offered to take on this Lenten practice with me, I knew it was an offer of Love, with Love, for Love that boosted my Spirit and energized me to be a faithful to the practice to which I am committed.
I notice these things about Walking in Love:
- I see more things when there are two pairs of eyes on the walk; I would never notice the pipes that are going into the new condos around the block, nor the kind of roof that the neighbor has put on, nor would I sense what the clouds mean on a given day or from whence the wind blows.
- My pace is determined by the rhythm of walking with someone else, whose speed is not my speed, and so I adjust my pace, either slowing down or speeding up.
- Into the walking/living in Love, space is created for sharing things that do not get said in the routine of the rest of our lives; much of it is just issues of interest: “did you know that she was taking a trip?” “what did you really think of the debate?” But some of the conversation, in grace, becomes a sharing of Deep and Hidden Things of importance and meaning.
- It is not always easy to be in step/in tune/in sync with another; sometimes it is work. From a mystery I was reading came these words: “we worked at it…And then as we got to know each other, it wasn’t work any longer. Funny how love makes everything easier.” (Johansen, Quinn)
- Love is often shared in silence. It is not always about the words which are so readily available. There is a practice of Presence that embodies love, incarnates it, makes it tangible.
But in the last week of Lent, my beloved will take off for a trip to Kenya; will it still be possible for me to Walk in Love, when I am all alone, left to my own speed, thoughts and noticings? I am becoming convinced that it will be possible for me to continue the Love Walk, primarily because my intention in this walking is my intention to “love God more dearly.” For me this walking is a God thing, not a “flesh” thing, because I am still not loving the actual walking. But I am doing it for Love. And I take a Word with me to set the cadence of a Love Walk.
Moreover, I am noticing that into that space I can bring prayerfully those that are close to my heart: each child, each grandchild, each soul friend, each directee, each one whom I am given to love. In addition, I can bring into this prayer walk the griefs and sorrows of the world that are so overwhelming: today it is Southern Sudan, Afghanistan, women all over the world, Japan. As I walk, I am able to lift in Love these places where the heart of God is broken again and again.
Catherine of Siena tells me: “If you really want to love, you must begin by loving–I mean you must want to love.”
Let the Love Walk continue!