Author: Yvonne Hymel

To say that I dislike exercising is an understatement and I’m a master at finding logical excuses to avoid the gym.  The thought of covering miles on a treadmill going nowhere fills me with dread. So, after prayer, I spent the remainder of this morning addressing pressing issues that needed my attention.  Okay, maybe not so pressing, but surely legitimate reasons for my delay.  Having fully completing my “Gotta do this today” list, I picked up a magazine and began flipping through the pages (I told you I was good at avoidance!).  There staring up at me in mocking boldness was an article about health, touting the need for good diet and exercise.  What shocking new revelation!

Resigned to my fate, I looked out to a beautiful day and decided I’d trade the gym atmosphere for a neighborhood walk.  I’d barely stepped out of my door when I realized it was God who had extended the invitation.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s words rose in my heart and mind,

           Earth’s crammed with heaven
           and every common bush alive with God!

I sensed God’s presence everywhere.  It was as if God was waiting for us to walk together.  Passing my neighbors’ houses, I thought of each one.  Some I knew well, others I just gave a neighborly wave when we crossed paths; all shared this place.  I said a silent prayer for each today.

It was such a delight to truly notice; a contemplative experience.  I looked up at the clouds and remembered lying in the grass as a child making up stories about the shapes and movements as they floated by.  The wind was the Spirit’s voice sharing secrets of Presence and Love.

It’s still late February, yet spring has clearly made her entrance.  Despite the unusually cold winter, green sprouts push through what appeared to be dead branches.

At my feet, are discarded carnival beads, left from the parade that passed on a street a few blocks from my home.  Did the homeowner ignore their presence, waiting until the Irish-Italian parade next month leaves its unclaimed throws behind?  I smiled thinking of the crowds that filled that street just the week before begging for such treasure.

Signs stood guard in front of several houses.  Some proclaimed the candidate of their choice in the upcoming race, in front of another was a “For Lease” sign, and “For Sale” announced the intent of the owner of this small house, so far from the street one hardly noticed its presence driving by.  Each has a story.

Back at home, my heart swelled with gratitude for God’s creation and desire to share this beauty and story with me.