The Walk

 

Some moments live forever in your heart.

My sister shielding my eyes so I cannot see the perverted man who had his private part on display so openly on our walk to the church when we were both very young.

Eating pasta somewhere in the back street of paris with my ex-husband when we were still married.

The first night alone in Hawaii drinking a glass of chardonnay listening to the waves of the ocean.

Having a panic attack to the song “Belle of the Boulevard” and then going to Bongo Ben’s by the sea for some bloody mary.

You run into something you never wish to witness ever again, people will leave you or you leave them, and place you live can change, and you lose control over your body, but one thing is certain: No one can corrupt the beauty of your moment. Not even the perverted man who likes to expose his private part in public. All I remember is my beautiful sister protecting her beloved little sister. I only remember us running together, half in fear and half in fun. I only remember me and my ex so much in love eating dull pasta dish at a quiet little nameless restaurant somewhere on the street of Paris. I don’t remember my tears and loneliness. I only remember the first sweet sip of my chardonnay on the first night in Hawaii. I smile now when I listen to the song “Belle of the Boulevard” at the memory. I remember my friends I hung out with at Bongo Ben’s that late morning. That’s what I remember.

How I see the world, and what I see when I see is my own interpretation. I can turn anything into a golden memory. Even the most painful ones can be beautifully remembered. I just need to give it some time. Some, requires more time than others, of course. But in the end, lessons are learned, coping strategies arise, and I moved on leaving the bitterness behind. Nostalgia takes time.

“Except for Holy Week, every ferial Monday, that is, ordinary Mondays that are not feast days, the monks leave Parkminster for what they call a spatiamentum, a walking about.”, writes Mrs. Maguire in her book “An Infinity of Little Hours”. This chapter titled “The Long Walk” is by far my very favorite part.

“When St. Bruno built the first Charterhouse in the French Alps, he invented a hermit life with some communal activities- to keep the hermits from going crazy.”, the book explains further about the long occasional walk of the Carthusian monks. This spatiamentum is one of those activities that were designed to keep the monks sane. I do not doubt the mighty healing power of these walks. I once had to walk every few hours to stabilize my mind. At certain point, I had to spend my entire morning into the early afternoon walking to make through the day without going crazy.

I have many favorite memories, but nothing is quite as special as my memories of walking. It was on those walks that I made sense of my life. It was on those walks that God spoke to me. Those were the walks that helped me find my way back to a balanced brain. And now I am walking my way back to a balanced life.

All of my walking moments live forever in my heart. As I walk with my heart fully engaged I know I am getting closer and closer to meet my destiny, to the one that I am supposed to meet one day. That thought gives me so much joy that I try to rush my steps to get there faster. Once I leave everything behind and finally arrive at the time’s end, I know I won’t be missing anything. There won’t be any nostalgia. Only the joyfully glorious eternal present.

Strangely, that thought makes me savour this walk in the world even more.

So somedays, I walk longer than usual. I go for a long walk, but it’s not to keep myself from going crazy any more. I walk to remember, because if I don’t remember now, this walk won’t have its chance to be lived.

“Do this in memory of me.”         – Luke 22:19

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Nicholas says:

    Elder Joseph the Hesychast used to go on long, praying walks all over Mount Athos, full of mindfulness of God, remembering God in everything, and during them he would sometimes come to theoria (that is, to inner ‘noetic’ vision). His letters record some truly beautiful and astonishing occasions of this kind. St Peter Damaskinos said: “‘Pray without ceasing’ (1 Thess 5:17), that is, be mindful of God at all times, in all places, and in every circumstance… In short, if everything you do becomes for you an occasion for glorifying God, you will be praying unceasingly.”

  2. lilyboat says:

    A life lived out from the center of God becomes a life full of prayer! I agree. I pray the best when I am not “trying to pray”.

    Is there a published collection of those letters by Elder Joseph? I would very much like to read them.

    1. Nicholas says:

      Yes, there’s a collection called “Monastic Wisdom: The Letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast”. I got my copy from Skete.com (http://skete.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_id=1307)

  3. For 4 years, I participated in a 9 day walking pilgrimage to a shrine 200 km away from home. We walked in the heat of the summer, through some challenging conditions. I don’t remember the pain and struggle; I remember the fellowship and the sharing of the Faith during our very long walk. Walking really is the best medicine.

    1. lilyboat says:

      That sounds like a beautiful walk. I remember reading a post of yours related to that pilgrimage. Walking is the best cure!

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