Walking is good! Walking is good for me! That is my mantra as I head out of the house, trying to find the cool of a warm Omaha day. It continues as heat builds up in the air and in my body as I take another step. And another. And another.
Today it was shorter because I headed out later in the day. 2.3 miles up to St. Margaret Mary’s where the kids were out for recess in their green and plaid uniforms, running and tossing a frisbee on this bright, sunny day.
I remember recess, and I even remember having it while wearing the brown plaid uniform of Christ the King school. And that is one of the things I thought about while walking this afternoon.
Of course, I can take those long-good-for-me walks because I am kind of living in a recess right now, although I prefer to think of it as a sabbatical. It’s not a permanent recess from work, because eventually I will do that again, even as I try the waters of grad school. Providing they let me in. Creighton? Anyone?
And those memories that come up as I take each of those steps in a 2.3 or 3.5 mile walk just flood in. The other day they took me back to the summer of 2001, or as I like to think of it, “The Summer of Steve,” the grand romance of intrigue and dating and love that led to our marriage. I learned so much that summer about Steve and about myself, and I continue to learn as we live out these days together.
And so today I am going back into that basket of written memories to share another. I actually made a list of what I learned that summer. It is a bit shredded and worn now (I must have referred to it a lot!), but they were good lessons and it was a gift to find it and read it and to share it with Steve. He has been a great teacher.
What I’ve learned about Steve:
- His height: 6’3″
- His weight: 215 lbs
- Eye color: brown
- Phone number, address, birthday (Jan 13)
- Where he gets his hair cut: Dundee Barber
- His tickle spot is on the bottom of his feet
- He has strength, size and balance and therefore wins all wrestling tournaments
- How he almost lost his toe
- His appreciation for art and detail
- His knowledge of history, vocabulary, literature and the Bible
- He is patient, kind, funny, caring, passionate, easy to talk to, quick to laugh, playful, inquisitive, doesn’t agree just to agree
- He makes me think and think long and hard and be able to explain why I think what I think
What I’ve learned about myself
- I can’t drink more than two glasses of wine
- I enjoy A Prairie Home Companion
- Wrestling is fun and I can’t win
- I am funny but have more to share than jokes
- I can laugh at myself, but don’t have to put myself down
- I need to work harder at developing the arguments I make to explain my positions
- I can formulate thoughts and put them into words coherently; I can pray out loud!
- Love isn’t experienced secondhand in books and movies…it’s real now for me and I feel it for Steve
- I’m pretty sure I’m not going to die alone
- I’ll never be too old to learn something new
- God is definitely in control and loves me and shows me by leading me places I would never go and showing me that not only is it okay to go there, I’m supposed to.
I wrote that at the ripe old age of 43. “I’ll never be too old to learn something new.” I’m 56 now and still learning.
Still learning what it means to love and be loved by someone like Steve. It’s a gift every day that I gladly receive.
Still learning to take in information and wanting to learn about complicated things like Middle East politics.
Still experiencing the joy and the power of praying, even out loud when necessary.
Still following God in the journey he has taken me on to Lebanon and Syria and Iraq and knowing it is where I am supposed to be.
Yes, I still know that I will never win a wrestling match with Steve. But I am reminded as I walk in this recess of my life, I am so glad that we still do. We wrestle with what it means to use the resources God provides to serve him. We wrestle with the news of the world and how we treat each other in such horrible ways. We wrestle with why families who look just like us in every aspect of our lives can be suffering the atrocities of extremist ideologies. We wrestle.
But we also pray, out loud, with each other every day, because in the wrestling matches of this life, we are knocked to our knees.
So, yes, walking is good for me. And today, I remember how much I love and how much I have learned. And I think about my teacher, my husband, my Steve.