As a recovering workaholic I’m trying to schedule more spontaneous, leisure activities into my week.
I know irony. Scheduled spontaneity. Anyway, a friend and I had talked about walking a couple times a week now that the relentlessly oppressive summer heat in Texas has given way to October coolness. She, by her own admission, is a recovering workaholic too. The only time we could come up with to walk was 6 am on Thursdays. This past Thursday morning I woke up at 3:27, 4:19, and 5:41 am, apparently anxious about over sleeping. We live on the same street so agreed to each start walking toward the other’s house at 6 am. I had forgotten that it would be dark and that it was a day and time when, despite our water rationing, it was ok for people to run their sprinklers.
I walked down the dark street eyes on the lookout for my friend Jeanie coming toward me. Was that her? No, that was a hefty man in a yellow bathrobe saving his newspaper from being soaked by the sprinklers. Was that her? No, that was a tall woman with blonde hair jogging with her cocker spaniel.” I walked for quite a while and began to wonder- is she coming? Did she oversleep?
So far no sign of my slight, brown haired friend. I thought to myself, this is like our life of faith. We’re walking in the dark looking for a friend who is, we hope, in that same moment, walking toward us. I’m walking toward my friend in the dark. When my friend appears, we will walk together as the light dawns.
God is the ultimately reliable friend and walking companion. I believe that God is always walking toward me. I believe that every time I pray, it is because the Holy Spirit has been praying in me. I believe that, every time I think I’m reaching out to God, inviting God into my life, I’m actually rsvp’ing to God’s prior invitation to me.
“Good morning, Alyce.” There she was right before me. She’d been walking on the other side of the street and suddenly, crossing it, seemed to materialize in front of me. She hadn’t forgotten. She hadn’t overslept. We’ve walked one time so far, so we’ll see if it becomes a weekly ritual. I hope it does. Because I need that weekly reminder that the life of faith is walking in the dark toward a friend who is, at the same time, walking toward us. And then walking with that friend as the darkness turns to daylight. Beyond the metaphorical inspiration, I need that weekly walk because I need to walk and talk with my friend along a dark street, sprinklers spritzing our ankles with fine mist as darkness turns to dawn.