Friday, March 22, 2013

Praise Him, Little Squirrel!

I preached to the squirrels this morning.  For the backstory on this story, see post from Mar. 14th.  There were only 4 within preaching distance.  I said to each one: "Praise God, little squirrel."  That was all.  The thing I like about squirrels vs. birds is...birds immediately fly away the split second they see you coming.  Squirrels, though, may just skitter a few feet away & stare at you while they nibble on their acorn.  They at least seem attentive as they nibble—all set for a sermon.  And as long as you don't head straight at them, they're fine.  The harder part was thinking of things they should praise Him for...  With birds it was easy:  He gave them wings to fly, after all.  Squirrels?  He gave them strong teeth that can chew through the wood siding on my house!  Let's not 'go there.'  He also gave them claws & agility that allows them to climb trees & power lines like they're on the ground.  It's truly a gift.  So, if you're reading this, and you're a squirrel, "Praise Him!"

P.S.  Grabbed a half of a styrofoam Sonic cup from the side of White Ave.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

HWJW, Amen.

I'm a bit slow when it comes to thinkin.'  Things routinely 'hit' me a while after I need the info.  The info. I needed on Tuesday was prayer-related.  How could I not think of prayer as Jesus' primary go-to walking activity.  Granted, I probably walk alone in a month more than Jesus did in His entire ministry.  He perpetually had there wouldn't have been too many prayerful commutes.  But if He were like me (usually alone), I bet He would've prayed.  And I bet it would've been fairly constant.  Instead of using brain power to ask, "What can I do to serve today?"  He would've more likely used prayer power to ask: "Father, help me..."  "Show me the service opportunities..."  "Help me be prepared for those opportunities..."  Etc. 

Yesterday & today, I tried to be in prayerful mode during my walk, and it was so (very) hard to maintain it.  My mind shifted every 60 secs. to what was awaiting me at work—stuff to get done, meetings to attend, emails to send, and the like. 

Jesus was a perfect model for so many things, most especially His reliance on His Father.  He submitted to His Father's will, depended on His Father's power to make it happen.  Jesus knew something that I forget regularly—that He never walked alone.  His Father was always with Him.  May my walk (and yours) be more prayerful.

P.S.  Found two things to tidy up yesterday Arby's french fry box & a city utility inspection slip.  I got both only because they were practically next to each other on the ground.  Two stoops were required, but if there's anything I needed today, it was an extra stoop.  Today, it was the outer-sole (rubbery) of a Rockport boot or shoe.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I've done a lot of thinking lately about how others walk.  A Mennonite-Quaker who notices things (HWMQW).  My beloved boss with her trash bag (HWBBW).  A monk who preaches to birds (HWFW).  I feel bad that I haven't once thought, How Would Jesus Walk?  If He was on foot, on his way to the office, what might He do?  I can safely assume what He'd do if (along the way) He met a blind man, lame man, woman at a well, group of lepers, etc.  But what about nowadays?  In my neighborhood?  What if it there weren't "Good Samaritan" opportunities around every corner?  I think I know, too, what He'd do if He wasn't by Himself.  If there was a person or two...or a crowd walking with'd be one long 'teachable moment'...a Sermon on the Move.

I wonder if He'd meander a bit, like He did on His (final) walk to Jerusalem?  Would He leave early every day, allowing a 5-10 minute buffer in case He ran into someone who needed to talk?  That way, He could help the hurting and not be late for work.  To be honest, I'm a little afraid to give this question too much deep thought.  It might lead to a risky, sacrificial commute waaay out of my comfort zone. 
For now I'm content to conclude that (bare minimum) He would be contemplating the question:  How might I serve others today?  In other words, He'd use the walk to think ahead to the people & situations He might encounter at work.  He'd anticipate service opportunities before they came along.  And when they happened, He'd be ready.  So, based on that conjecture, I tried to do the same.  I tried to think hard, with every step, What people might I encounter today (coworkers, students), with what particular needs?  In the end, I decided to keep it simple.  I made the decision to make eye contact each person who passed my desk, my office, or my path.  Eye contact isn't revolutionary or radical, but it can lead to other things.  Opportunities to help, for one.  Scripture doesn't tell us, but I bet eye contact was something Jesus was exceptionally good at (when He wasn't writing on the ground).

P.S.  Cleaned up the town only a bit today.  Found a Skittles mini-pack wrapper as I approached Main St.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Wave to Me!

I was nervous about my walk this morning.  Because I had made the decision to wave to everyone I passed by.  I'm not a big waver, typically—at least, not to drivers.  I've known people who would literally wave to everyone they encountered.  Sometimes it even seemed more like a reflex than a heart-felt gesture.  I shouldn't judge, though.  Sure, I'll wave to folks in cars I recognize.  But the problem is, with the glare bouncing off windshields & windows, I can rarely see who 'tis who's passing.  In other words, many a wave opportunity has been wasted.  Not today.

My plan was to wave only to folks passing by in the opposite direction—those who might actually see me waving.  I feared the worst.  20 cars?  30 cars?  "I'll have Waver's Elbow by the time I reach the library!"  There were only 5.  The first was a plumber or electrician's truck with what looked like a dad & son.  The both waved back!  I was excited.  I tried waving to a guy in a parked car (in front of a church), but he refused eye contact.  Probably praying.  Anyway, the next car had two folks...with the sun right in their faces.  No wave back.  Probably blinded.   Heading down the home stretch, I waved to 3 more drivers who didn't seem to notice.

The experiment made me realize how rarely I walk alongside the street.  About half the time, I'm cutting across parking lots or campus lawns...which means: not too many passing cars.  It also made me realize one reason I don't typically wave.  Because most folks don't wave back.  After years of this, it kind of conditions you to think, "No one really appreciates it anyway, so why do it."   That said, if you ever drive by on my walk to work and I don't wave?  No offense.  I'm just a jaded walker who's been left hangin' too many times to count.

Fellow Walker Sightings (to date): 2

Ride Offers: 1   A sweet lady who lives down the street slowed down & said, "I'd offer you a ride but you'd probably turn me down."  How right she was.

P.S.  Unlittered a bottle of Bud Light Lime that I found in the vicinity of the art bldg this morning.  I dumped it in a trashcan pretty quick.  I was afraid a car would pass me by with the bottle in my only free hand & so instead of waving, I'd be forced to raise my bottle to them.   I'd look cool doing it, but it'd probably cost me my job :-)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Praise God, Little Birdie!

So there's a new pope.  And he's chosen the name of Francis, presumably in homage of the widely renowned saint.  I, personally, like the sound of that...because St. Francis was a walker.  He could've easily had a blog about walking, and it would've been a much more interesting read than this one.  For example, he was known to stop a walk (making his fellow walkers wait) and give sermonettes to birds.  He would ask the birds to listen & would say things, like "Birds, you should praise your Creator very Him...He gave you feathers to clothe you, wings to fly...made you noble among his creatures...gave you a home in the glorious sky...He protects you, etc."  So if you're ever shopping for a bird bath & see St. Francis chiseled into it—that's why.

With that in mind, my walk-to-work goal this morning was to "preach" to every bird I saw, St. Francis-style.   I never stopped like he did.  Preached on the move.  And my sermon was much briefer.  I kept it simpler than St. Simplicity himself.  "Praise God!" was my message.  Occasionally, I added "...little birdie."  About 15 sermons total.  I never shouted out loud in hopes that the birds might actually hear me.  Didn't use my "preacher voice."  I did say the words aloud, though.  The audience was anything but captive.  All but a few of the birds were in flight at the time.   One thing I realized was how seldom I look upward when I walk—and up is where most of the birds were.  So I got a little disoriented a time or two. 

The closest I got to the birds was about 4 feet.  There were 3 robins in the library's patio area, hanging out behind a they didn't see me coming.  They took off as soon as I turned the corner, but not before a quick sermon, "Praise God, birds!"  How on earth did Francis get an audience?  There must be a bit of exaggeration in that story somewhere.

Yunno, I rarely ask readers to try something that I've tried on my walks...but I'm going to this time.  I can't explain the feeling I experienced asking God's creatures to praise Him.  It was surprisingly uplifting.  It reminded me of the 2nd to last Psalm in our Bibles—with this exhortation: "Praise the Lord from the earth...wild animals and all cattle, creatures that crawl and flying birds." (Psalm 148:7-10).  So try it.  It's not just Franciscan, it's Biblical!  

P.S.  Picked up a clear, plastic cup from the lawn near the art bldg.  It had frozen liquid in it that looked like a lot like beer. 

P.P.S.  My dream is to one day see a pope preaching to the birds.