The Tale of 30 Steps

This is a tale of thirty steps, the thirty steps between the shed at the bottom of our garden and the water butt on the front corner of the house. Self- isolation in the house and garden means that these thirty steps are the longest distance I can walk without turning round. I am used to being out and about on my feet walking everywhere and being faced with just a thirty step run was not what I wanted. How would I get enough exercise, it was a moment of negativity, I didn’t like it. I certainly didn’t relish the idea of walking up and down thirty steps between the wall of the house and a wooden fence.

Day one, with coat, hat and gloves on I set off down the path, no nice view, just the glimpse of the world outside the garden from the front of the house. This was not going to be much fun, how would I keep this up for what could be months rather than weeks? It was boring, but how else would I get any exercise. So four times a day I set off up and down the path. I decided to help the boredom I would count the number of trips I did and then I could work out the number of steps I had achieved.

As the days went by my feet pounded up and down, but I began to lose count, the rhythm of the repetition took over my mind. I was reminded of how monks would walk the cloisters around the monastery saying their prayers as they went. Through the repetition of the steps and constant up and down my mind was set free, free to pray, free to just be, free to listen to God and hear what he wanted to say to me. Sometimes I put a rosary in my pocket and as I fingered the beads I prayed for a different individual or situation on each bead. Sometimes I just held onto the cross, a tangible reminder that God was holding onto each of us in these strange and often dark times. What had initially seemed a loss became a gift, what felt like a time of captivity became a time of freedom.  

I have come to value those thirty steps. They are not just part of my physical wellbeing, but an important part of my spiritual health and growth. I will continue to daily tread them with anticipation and joy.


Photo by Marina Khrapova on Unsplash

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