I used to walk fast! I didn’t learn to amble, so friends would not go walking with me, for they could not keep up. As the smallest child in the group of siblings and cousins who had to walk everywhere, I realized at a young age that if I were to avoid getting snatched by some evil person (as they told me I would), I had to keep up with my taller family members, especially my older sister, JoAnn.
She would tell me that if I did not walk faster, she would leave me. That was motivation to run, not walk, and the habit stuck. I remember once speed walking down the street, and an older woman who was walking slowly and in obvious pain with a cane for help stopped me. I thought that she needed help or something, but she wanted to give me a warning. She said, “Slow down! Save your knees, child!” I smiled at her, and I just kept right on moving as fast as ever. One time as I was walking down the street, a man hollered at me, “Slow down! You are gonna get a ticket!” I just laughed!
I was in my thirties or forties when I received and ignored the warnings about the fragility of our knees. Over the years, I would participate in the March of Dimes walks in Atlanta, and no one could keep up with me. When I tried to create walking groups at work, my colleagues would say, “Go ahead. Don’t let us slow you down!” And I would take off like I had been hit by lightning or something! I will admit that I liked having people “eat my dust.”
There was a certain pride in being the first back to the starting line and waiting for the others to finally show up. No way I was going to slow down to accommodate others’ snail walks. Even my children complained that I was inconsiderate of them, walking so far ahead of them, but I kept them in sight, of course.
But, the words of Proverbs 16:18 finally caught up with me: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Today, I am the slow poke. When I walk with Douglas, I am always behind him. He has adjusted his walking, so that he does not get too far ahead of me, or he has to listen to me ask him if he is embarrassed to be seen with me.
I don’t squat or bend the knees, if I can help it, because it hurts! I find myself thinking about that little old lady who had tried to warm me. I can just hear her saying, “I told you so, but you would not listen! We old folks can tell you young whippersnappers a thing or two about getting old!”
So, let me help somebody today! Amble slowly through life, and save your knees, but also slow down and do not miss the magical and wondrous moments in life that are so life-affirming and good for us. By walking so fast through life, I missed so many beautiful moments and seeing the wonders of God’s great earth.
I moved through my days so fast that I did not have time to relax and just enjoy the view along the way. Today, as I walk slowly and in a relaxed state, I stop to lift my head up and listen to the music of earth’s orchestra, including the birds, bees, frogs, cicadas, and the wind passing through the trees.
All of the different sounds come together in the most delightful manner, adding unspeakable joy to my life.I cannot but stop and thank the great I AM for giving everything that breathes a way to communicate with its own species and, just maybe, with us.
No longer do I miss the sweet joys of a turtle sitting on the fallen branch, the great blue heron standing in the river, the red bird sitting in the tree above, or the butterflies and bees flitting from flower to flower. I send up a prayer of thanksgiving to my Father in heaven that the world is in colors so vibrant that they touch our very souls, and is not just in black and white or grey.
Amble, don’t run! Your knees will thank you later in life, but so will your mind, heart, and soul! Happy walking, folks.
Dee Kelly’s Prompt today is Amble.