Saturday, February 26, 2011

and He walks with me

There ain't no snow in the Bay Area today, at least not below 1000 feet. We all got so excited... us pseudo seafaring city goofs. Other parts of the US and world shiver in record cold plus multiple feet of snow. We crane our necks for a dusting while others may save their pennies for a holiday here. Irony and beauty do a little polka.

In 1993 or so I bought a very posh pair of hiking boots from LLBean - from their store in Maine, no less. They were at the time a small fortune for me: $100! Yes, they were stiff leather and would take some breaking in. Throughout all of my subsequent global rambling those boots followed me, from Scotland to Seattle to California and parts in-between. My expensive hiking boots!

Fifteen years later I finally admitted that they did not fit properly. I had relinquished countless hiking opportunities because I'd clung to a pair of boots that were supposed to do the job and yet hurt my feet after 20 minutes of walking. "I paid $100 from LLBean, dang it. They're supposed to be GREAT!" They might well have been but not for my odd, semi-flat and duck-like wide feet. I held on in denial. And didn't get my heinie out into God's glorious lands unless the weather and terrain were just right.

Two years ago I gave them away. I let go. I told myself the truth. This isn't working.

Two weeks ago I high-tailed it to REI, found a harried yet helpful salesperson in their shoe department, and proceeded to try on pair after pair. I had 10 minutes remaining before I was to leave to attend a Eucharist with the Benedictine monks in the Berkeley hills. Eyeing a pair on display, I asked for these in two sizes. I often need a shoe a full size larger than my size 6 feet. Slipping on the size 7's, I walked around the store. I felt like I was walking on air yet supported. I walked some more. SOLD. Mine!

It wasn't even until I made it to the checkout counter that I realized I'd found a $200 pair of footwear. Barely blanching, I got out my credit card (which I do pay off every month, incidentally). And this past week, injured from a fall last Sunday and taking a break from the gym, I put them on and went for a one-hour walk in the local hills. I breathed the air, I watched a deer eye me and then scamper away, I made it to the top of a small hill with yes, multiple stops. It was muddy in places. It was twisty in places.

It was beautiful.

I have been humbled by the consequences of slipping on early morning ice en route to church last Sunday. Landing soundly on my butt I also pulled a few muscles. I am healing ... however my self will run riot I WILL lose those eight pounds dammit! fervent go GET 'em! gym rat run has taken a pause. Is all of me God's or am I still trying to impress Him by attempting to atone for my in-denial gluttony of the past year? Granted it's been a muddle, which is why I can take so long to wake up. Of COURSE it's awesome (lavish pat-pat-pat) that I'm going to the gym! I'm rebuilding my brokenness by His Grace! Or am I also trying to make good on my own until it's Showtime for God? Houston, we have muddle. Of course "God didn't make me fall" - however post pity party has found me contemplative. And prayerful.

This past week I tried out my new hikers on a glorious cold winter day. I've paused my almost relentless gym run which has built muscles but not addressed my in-denial snackaholism. I've prayed more. I've given thanks more.

Wry humble pie as Lent draws near.


  1. Ah, you are so hard on yourself. You talk of your gluttony and rebuilding your brokenness, but the important thing to remember is that in the heart and eye of the Divine, you ARE perfect. Your perceived faults and shortcomings are just that, perceived, ingrained after years of pain and loss. And very understandable. We all do this. We look in the mirror and simply, for whatever reason, don't measure up with what we think we should be. We're not thin enough, or fit enough or holy enough. But to the Great Infinite, we are.

    Each tiny morsel of us is an indescribable, unique jewel in the crown of God, cherished, loved, perfect. And you have come so far. Every time you post, your healing is evident, from your frightened, ill days Alta Bates 'til now, you have taken your healing into your own hands and made life a lovely thing.

    And if you take a few days to rest a bruised bum, you deserve it! The walk sounds like it was the perfect balm for body and soul (with the right shoes to make it a joy rather than a chore). When I walk like that, I like to talk to those beloved people that have passed beyond my sight. When I get to a good spot, I close my eyes and I can feel them, so close, each little breeze like a touch of hands. It's like a benediction, an affirmation that I am ok, I am loved and that right here, right now is a good place to be. Hugs and blessings to you

  2. You are a treasure, "Anonymous." Bless you!

  3. Sending prayers up for your labs, and keeping fingers, toes, eyes and anything else I can think of crossed for them to improve, and quickly! (yes, I read Steve Blum's blog, too) Hugs across the miles.

  4. There is something profound about this post... the idea of walking in shoes that don't fit for whatever reason (cost, image, style) and persisting with it, maybe in a state of denial, in spite of the pain it brings, reluctant to let go (of image, etc). Then, finally, letting go and accepting the liberation that comes from fully embracing the "right" shoes. Perhaps I am reading this as a metaphor for "walking" in the flesh and "walking" in the Spirit. And then to stretch the metaphor a bit further, the ol'program talk about "self-will run riot." So, then, if I examine my life, there's some painful shoes I still insist on hobbling around in here and there that I'm not quite ready to let go of... (not that I am equating L.L. Bean with the Flesh or REI (whatever that is) with the Spirit. Nevermind. It is a profound post.

    I, too, am sending up a prayer for your levels and labs.

    And, I, too, think that "anonymous" is a treasure!

  5. Aww you both!

    I'm in a very sappy mood right now.