Unless I’m sick or the weather prevents it, I walk several times a week. My blood pressure and heart rate benefit from it, and it keeps me from gaining too much weight. Tidal bay waters are a quarter mile from my door, and the river is almost as close. Whichever direction I go, I can find these calm and rough waters, along with trees, birds, and squirrels in minutes. I can also find Tobey hospital, the library, and train tracks. It’s a pleasure to exercise by walking, so this is an easy resolution to keep. But is it possible to go home by another road? There isn’t really a way home that I haven’t already walked multiple times.
It’s an objective truth that I can never walk home the same way twice. The planet is in an different place, the weather changes, nearby houses are repaired or fall into ruin, and the neighbors I see today I may not see tomorrow. I no longer push a stroller or have a toddler holding my hand as I walk. Neighbors have come and gone, and the ones who remain grow older just as I do. Three of my relatives have died, two have been born, nine have graduated from high school, and two are now married. So much of my life’s reality has changed during these years that I’ve been walking from this door, from this home on this street in this town. I never return home the same way twice is my subjective truth because my home isn’t just the white house I live in – it’s the gracious, God-given life I live.
This year as I head out the door for my usual exercise, I’ll continue to enjoy what I see and hear. But I’ll keep in mind how the road that brings me home is different from the one I set out on. It’s not just my life story that’s lived out on these streets, it’s the holy life story of creation. I’m part of the great history of the universe, albeit a very small one. But even my small part, my dusty road, brings me to God-with-Us. So does yours.