It was frosty early Sunday morning, when I started out for my morning walk. From my porch the sidewalk and the path to the park looked like it could be pretty slippery so I wasn’t sure when I started if I’d walk far. It turned out to be fine and before long I was walking along the trail in the park, missing Buddy the Dog.
I thought about how people say “Pets and other friends aren’t really gone. They live on in our memories.” As I walked I pictured Buddy running and sniffing, peeing on rocks and trees, completely lost in the smells and sights, the way he did in his better days, when we were both younger!
It’s not unusual to encounter another walker on my early morning walks, but today, this morning, the park and the path were all mine! I guess I was kind of lost in thought and dialoging with God the way I do when I get quiet enough. I was saying, “Father, I don’t know what I know! My mind used to be full of the certainties of the young. Now my thoughts are full of the questions of age. I’m realizing I don’t have all the answers. But I sure have plenty of questions!”
Suddenly, the sun rose over my right shoulder and the frosty path ahead of me exploded into sparkles of brilliant diamonds! I kept walking a few steps. Then I stopped and simply looked. It was incredibly beautiful. The kind of beautiful that a camera, even a good camera, won’t capture. It seemed like a holy moment. Or at least that it could be if I didn’t rush on.
I said, “Father what do you want to say to me in this moment?” Then I waited. In less than ten seconds, this came to me. “Keep walking. Stay on the path. Keep walking. Be aware, notice the beauty. Stop when you see it and be fully present. But stay on the path and keep walking.”
As I stood quietly and expectantly, I began to hear the winter birds singing to the sunrise. I felt the cold breeze on my cheek. I looked farther ahead and the path stretched out like a river of diamonds. I saw the cloud of vapor as I breathed. I waited maybe five minutes, until my legs were getting cold (I was dressed to speak at church later in the morning).
Then I started walking on a path of diamonds. The path sparkled all the way home, except for a short section that lay in shade. But I knew the beauty was there, even as I walked in the shadows. I also knew it would only last a few minutes. The same rising sun that turned the frost to diamonds would melt the frost and take it all away in minutes. But it was mine for the moment!
Thirty hours later, I’m still processing “Stay on the path! Keep walking!”