I have come to realise that dog walking is seriously bad for your health! Not only do you have to get up early in the morning and go out late at night in all weathers and bump into all types of people and all types of dog, not only do you risk life and limb sliding up, or down, muddy banks as the dog smells rabbit, not only do you risk contracting various diseases by picking up dog crap in very thin little plastic bags which don’t always protect your hands (!) …. but it seems also that it opens you to the risk of seemingly talking aloud to yourself and giving the impression to others that you have an imaginary friend!
I realised this last night when another dog walker gave me an incredibly odd look as it dawned on me that the conversation I was having with God (ie prayer) that I thought was in my head was, quite obviously, being said aloud! At 1130pm, when decent people are inside their warm homes either asleep or drinking good whisky, and it is quiet and calm …. one lone voice can travel quite a long way!
I mean … if you saw a giant 6’2 bloke in black raincoat and wellies with a nearly as tall greyhound charging towards you while having a conversation with a seemingly invisible friend …. what would you do! An old WWJD bracelet I saw lying around made me think that Jesus’ response if coming across such a scene with his disciples may well have been to command someone or something to come out!!!
So … now I have a reputation of talking to myself while I walk the dog …. great!
But that’s not the real danger. The real danger is that this prayer stuff, while walking, while I seemingly lose myself in both walk and nature and prayer is flipping real stuff! I don’t mean my prayers are better then anyone else’s …. but what I am noticing is that for the first time in a little while my prayers are nakedly honest. With that naked honesty comes a certain vulnerability and revealing of brokenness which means that some stuff can be dealt with. The danger with honesty is that you need to step out from hiding, and stepping into the open in that way can be a dangerous thing to do.
So is this hard? Yes
Does it hurt? Yes
Is it backbreaking, crappy hard slog stuff! Yes
Does it help! Yes
I am relearning that it’s very easy to hide. I have remembered that journeys start or take a new direction only after someone steps out, but that stepping out is the quite often the mad and dangerous thing to do. It’s a high risk thing too as when you step out others don’t necessarily join you. So, it’s pretty mad on all fronts really.
Well …. I have never made any claim that I was sane have I?
Off to step out a little more … with and without the dog!