Have you ever gone on a walk with a toddler? I have. And it’s definitely one of my top 10 favorite things. I can say this because I’m not the parent and I don’t have to go on these walks all of the time.
On my most recent toddler walk we went at sub-sloth pace. Every leaf that got in our way was met with a tiny, “Hey!” Every stick, “Ooo stick!” as it was piled up next to a tree.
As others were already at our destination and my adult FOMO started to kick in, I realized this pace was worth paying attention to. I would have much rather picked the toddler up, walked at a faster pace, and gotten to the park in a ‘timely’ manner.
Instead, every step had intention.
We looked around.
We noticed the sticks.
We got annoyed with the leafs.
We spent time together.
And we walked at a pace that made me pay attention.
I believe God is big enough to connect with us in ways that our hearts need connection. Sure, there are spiritual rhythms and disciplines and structures set up for us to commune with the Lord, but He also knows us better than we know ourselves and gives us what we need when we need it.
I need God with flesh on. I need connection with His people. Not too many at one time though (#introvert).
And on a walk to a park on a sunny afternoon, His connection was a toddler with a slower than molasses pace. A pace that helped me to that connecting and communing with Him was as ‘simple’* as slowing down and looking around. Noticing the leaves on the ground, the fresh air, the love from friends, the fresh pizza dough waiting to be baked, the tiny hand holding mine, the hawk in the tree,
But I don’t notice these things if I don’t walk slowly.
So, on this, the first of February in the year of our Lord two-thousand-twenty-three, my hope is to walk at a little bit of a slower pace. To notice the things that bring me joy and frustration. To notice the things that get in my way and say, “Hey!” before kicking them off the path. To bring myself fully in to the moment I am in, take a deep breath, and sigh out a tiny prayer of gratitude for the life I never imagined I would be able to live.
*I say ‘simple’ because slowing down is the most simple, yet complicated, thing we can do. I’d rather have coffee or an adult beverage to hash out my thoughts than write about them right now.