I hate working out. But I heard so many people say you should work out that I began to feel guilty about not working out. Eventually I decided it was time to bite the bullet. I started out by looking up workout videos on YouTube and suffering through them at home. But after a couple of months, I just couldn’t take it anymore—the goony workout clothes, the “fierce” women, the perky women, the swishing ponytails, the mindless music in the background and…the boredom. It was so cotton-pickin’ boring. “I don’t care about a thigh-gap, muscly arms and toned abs,” I groaned, “just give me my mind back!”
So, I quit. Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t like exercise. Exercise, by the way, is entirely different than working out in my estimation. Exercise can be had by doing useful things like taking out the trash, mopping the floor, running up and down stairs to put stuff away, shoveling snow off the sidewalk, ice skating, hoeing the garden and going for walks! I love going on walks. I heartily approve of walks. For one thing, walks don’t require hideous spandex and clunky tennis shoes. (Unless, of course, your feet require tennis shoes to be comfortable.) Walking requires no fancy equipment and, often, no shower afterwards, which is great news for my poor, dry, eczema-ridden skin. Walking is glorious and refreshing. Okay, I’m beginning to sound silly. But I do love walking.
As you have probably guessed, I go for walks quite often. Nearly every day, in fact. Sometimes, I’ll walk as far as five miles in one day. Besides the fact that I get my exercise in that way, I have the most interesting experiences and see that most lovely things while I’m out walking. Since I live by Lake Michigan, I’m always assured of a beautiful view in the lake alone. But it’s really the small things that I enjoy the most.
First, there was the maiden fly I found last summer, its beautiful bright blue laid out against the sand. It sat so still, I got a picture before it flew away. Then there was the little robin I saw the other day, sitting right in the middle of a puddle to cool off. When I go out at night, I almost always see a jack rabbit or two, frozen in someone’s lawn waiting for me to pass them. Lately, I’ve struck up an acquaintance with two black cats, Sleek and Slim. I have no idea what their real names are. I just call them that because Sleek is quite fat and Slim is much skinnier with a large tuft of fur missing from his tail. Whenever I see them out, I stop and visit. Today, though it is my big teaching day, I devoted some of my lunch hour to a walk along the country roads that run close to where I teach. It was beautiful. The hills were so green and flowers were blooming everywhere.
I think the part I like most about walking is that it makes me leave everything and just go. There are times when I feel so stressed out about life and my responsibilities or some sadness I’m dealing with, that I find myself running around in distracted circles, accomplishing nothing and feeling more and more stressed because I’ve accomplished nothing. When this happens, I know it’s time to take a walk. I leave my work unfinished and break out of my house and the little circle of worried thoughts occupying my brain. As I walk, my tense shoulders relax and I breathe in the good fresh air, looking around at the beautiful world God created. And though I don’t often put the feeling I get into exact words, its essence is something along these lines, “God created all of this and runs it to perfection. Surely He is more than capable of taking care of all my little problems.” It’s about then that I begin to talk to God, confess my sins to Him and ask for His wisdom to face all of my perplexities and anxieties and responsibilities with grace.
Frankly, I think more people should take walks. It does the soul good. My advice to all of you is, go for a walk. Suspend your anxieties and troubles for twenty minutes and take time to look at this beautiful world. Let it remind you of the one who created it and who is in absolute control.