I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. ~ 3 John 1:4
We walk through snow and ice and sometimes we wear rubber boots. Three days a week, I tell them, just three times are you required to get out here and raise your heart rate a little.
There are complaints and pleas, there is sometimes a giving-in, but these minds need air and the cold just makes us walk faster.
I am teacher-mom, and that means I have to be the whistle-and-gym-shorts kind, too. Or in our case, the layered-up goof with ear muffs and a camera around her neck.
I even bought umbrellas, because it’s Oregon and we are nearly aquatic. There’ll be no weather-related excuses.
So we walk and there are kids spread out for a quarter-mile in front and behind me, some of them trying to keep up and some of them trying to break free, I think. I annoy them with my camera and my pep-talks, with my smile and my Pollyanna-isms.
“Look at how the buds are coming on the trees!”
“Oh they put fresh gravel down!”
“If you are cold you could always run!”
I annoy them because I stop to take pictures, because I walk too fast, because I run circles around them sometimes in my goofy tights and neon yellow shirt.
I think they love me anyway.
I am freezing and there are at least 30 other things I could be doing at the moment but we walk. Out and back, the same route, and sometimes we talk or hold hands or race home.
Sometimes there are just 5 separate people, walking alone but in the same direction.
I think we’re making memories that will be stored up for one day, for a day when we can’t take walks together and make each other laugh with our cheesy jokes. I want them to see all the joy I see and be satisfied with the simple things like frost on branches and budding twigs.
So when we go for a walk and they complain, I press on because I know it’s the moments that are important and the years are only made up of so many. I press on because I know that seeing takes practice, and nothing is perfect so we take the imperfect and find God there.
I know that the exercise profits a little. I know that it’s cold and torturous and there are other things to do but this moment has to freeze and we have to seize it.
And I know that there is always a truth to see in walking. Not a Pollyanna, look-at-how-the-ice-forms-on-my-eyelashes attempt, but a true Truth that the seasons change, the ground freezes under you, but everywhere in every corner God is at work.
That’s the Truth I want my children to walk in.
The world will tell them otherwise, that the ground freezes and the leaves fall because there is no God at work. They will have people try to tell them to take the easy road, to stay warm and comfortable. To live in ease and find beauty only in the work of their own hands.
Not so, my children.
I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in the whole truth of this created world and the God who made it and them.
See how the tree buds after a long winter.
See how the road is made firm for our walking.
See how far you can run.