I love to walk outside. As soon as the snow and ice melts and it’s above freezing, I hit the sidewalks. But when fall comes, and the temperature plunges, and ICE arrives, I’m driven back to walking at the fitness center of the St. Paul Jewish Community Center.
Last fall I had to give up the treadmill because of tendinitis. Gone were the enticing TV reruns of “Property Brothers” on HGTV. Instead I tried the indoor track which seemed easier on my muscles. But I found it extremely boring. The indoor track is suspended above the gym which, more often than not, was completely empty. Not much to look at. And it smelled funny — like stale locker room mixed with the smell of rubber from the floor coverings. Yuck.
So I decided to listen to the podcast “Pray As You Go” while I walked the track. “Pray As You Go” is a website with daily podcasts that contain a Scripture passage and questions for meditation. The website is maintained by the Jesuits in Britain. Each podcast is about 12 minutes long. So I listened to each podcast twice.
These podcasts are not perfect. Sometimes I get irritated by the questions they ask about the Scripture. But I usually enjoy the meditative introductory music. And I get to listen to a passage of the Bible read four times by people with wonderful British accents!
Listening to these podcasts changed the nature of the walk around the boring, smelly track from one of mundane exercise to a pilgrimage. There were few distractions (another way of saying something is boring!). I had to concentrate. I was amazed at how much God’s Word spoke to me in fresh ways as I took time to really take it in, walking around that track.
I’ve been enjoying my walks outside this summer in our beautiful weather. But a week or so ago I was forced back to the track because of rain. As I opened the door and smelled that musty, rubbery, stale smell, I had a thrill of expectation. I knew the Lord would meet me there — even where I would have least expected!