What You Can See When You Slow Down

By Dave Almack

This blog was originally posted January 1 at https://faithlit.wordpress.com/. This edition is slightly edited.

For many years, our family has had a tradition of going to Center City Philadelphia on Christmas Eve to see the sites of the season. This typically involves a stop at the Comcast Center, shopping at the Christmas Village next to City Hall, and an obligatory visit to the Macy’s Christmas Light Show and Wanamaker Organ Concert. Sometimes we even stand in line to see the Dickens Village display – one more time. This year Deb and I decided to do something different. We went downtown on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to take things at a slower pace. We did visit the Comcast Center and the Christmas Village, but we skipped Macys altogether and decided to do something new.

We had always talked about walking through Society Hill to see some of the buildings that had withstood the test of time. On the way, we stopped at Washington Square, which was once the heart of the city’s thriving publishing industry. With no agenda we simply sat and watched people walk by. We could not help but notice the diversity that makes Philadelphia so special. Then heading south on 5th Street, an elderly gentleman noticed us looking at one particular building. He must have thought that we were tourists and asked if we wanted to know more about where we were standing. For the next few minutes we were given a free guided tour with recommendations about what to see next. Based on his input, we headed down Spruce Street to the river and found the homes we had been looking for. These old houses were so interesting and beautiful that before we knew it we were at the river. Walking back to the train, we took a different route and made resolutions about wanting to take this same walk again.

Walking is something that I am learning to love again. I have always enjoyed hiking the various trails near our home, but so often my time was limited by a very busy schedule. Recently, a colleague who knows that I am on sabbatical invited me to take a walk with him over the lunch hour. He mentioned a new trail he wanted to show me. Having walked many trails nearby, I was interested to see where we might go. Sure enough, he took me to a familiar park but not a familiar path. How had I lived so close to this path and never seen it before? As we walked, I marveled at the beauty of the light shining through the trees and glistening off the creek. The trail was wide and well taken care of. It had a long wooden bridge and some interesting side path options as it followed the creek for a long way. When our walk was finished, I was so delighted by this discovery that I decided to bring Deb back later that day to experience it once more.

Slowing down and walking gives you a new perspective. You cannot see things quite the same way when you simply drive by or are in a hurry. I marvel more and more at the God who took time to create all this natural beauty for our enjoyment. I rejoice in having friends who want to show me new paths and who care enough to slow down to walk with me. I look forward to discovering new things this year as I take time to see what God wants to show me on His adventure trails.