After having a bit of surgery about 12 years ago, my Dr. told me to get out and walk a little every day. He said that would expedite the healing process. So, I went home and walked. That first day I went outside and walked the length of our house. The next day I managed to get to the garage. A few days later, I conquered our driveway and made it all the way to the mailbox. (You do remember this is post-op walking, don't you?)
Little by little I continued to increase the distance I moved until I'd made it 2.7 miles per day and that's where I stopped. I had 3, then 4 boys to teach, a home to take care of, etc. and I just didn't feel right about taking too much more time out of my day to exercise.
Well, I've been walking that 2.7 miles every day for 8 years, give or take a mile or two. That is 17.5 miles per week.
I just sat down and calculated how many miles I've walked in 8 years: it's been at least 7280. Can you imagine what I would've seen if I'd actually gone anywhere? I could've walked the length of Chile almost 3 times, or traveled from Maine to Portland, Oregon and back with a few miles to spare. I could've followed Route 66 3 times or walked to the deepest part of the ocean 1213 times. If I knew how to walk on water, travel from Bangor, Maine to Paris and back would've made for an interesting trip.
Another route I could've taken would be to go from my own little front door to Canada, through Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, then the southern tip of the Yukon all the way to Anchorage. That journey sounds the most appealing right now. I'm so ready for wilderness, bears, pine trees, mountains and crisp, fresh air...
As you may have guessed, I never have walked "anywhere". I've stayed right here in my own little corner of the planet. I doubt very much I could've gotten any of my family to walk to any one of those places with me, but by staying home and walking? I've had the blessing of spending hours and hours with different members of our family.
My husband and I have walked and talked our way through fights, misunderstandings and deep hurts. We've literally laughed and cried our way over the miles and sore spots in our marriage have been healed.
I've spent time with our oldest son and discussed science, apologetics and basic theology. (He's done the teaching, btw) We've discussed books we're reading and he's shared some of his dreams with me.
My second son has walked only a few times with me. He's been the most creative when it comes to finding ways of avoiding The Walk. :-) But, when we have walked together I've seen bits and pieces of his heart and his concern and compassion for the people of the inner city. The weight he carries on his young shoulders sometimes seems overwhelming.
Walking with #3 is the most difficult of all. That boy has such an incredible imagination and crazy sense of humor. He sometimes makes me laugh so hard I can hardly stand up, which kind of defeats the purpose of being out there, ya know?
Then you have our youngest son. I bet that boy has put in the most miles with me. Walking with him has been such a joy. He is an intelligent, thoughtful, curious little guy who notices everything from the tiniest bug to a cloud shaped like a dumptruck. He was there for me last year in ways no one else in the family could be. He encouraged me to toddle down the road, pushing my walker after back surgery and made the miles enjoyable, not tedious.
Someday I may just tie my shoes, open the door and go. I may walk from coast to coast or tip to tip. My husband and I someday want to go to England and walk through the countryside. We want to stop at cozy B & B's and dusty pubs-I'll try the fish and chips and he can sample the beer.
For now I'm ok with staying home.