Monday, February 17, 2014

Walking Through Life

Image by M Nota

An unusual thing happened to me a few years ago. I spoke casually with a woman who served tables at a restaurant I frequented. We knew each other by first name only, but usually chatted for a few minutes each time I dined there.

One day, she asked me, “Do you have a son about eight years old?”

'What has he done?' I thought.
I nodded yes.

She pressed on. “Does he play soccer?”

When I said that he did, she asked if he played in a game the previous week at a particular field. Again, I answered, “Yes.”

“I thought so,” she smiled. “I saw him and thought he must be your son.”

Since there were tens of thousands of young boys in the city, I was amazed and exclaimed, “I didn't know he looked that much like me!”

“Oh, I didn't see his face,” she said smiling as if she were keeping a secret.

“Then how did you know he was my son?” Now I was puzzled.

“I was just sitting in the car, and I saw a little boy in a baseball cap walking across the field to join his team. He walks like you.”

Walks like me? Now I was curious. How do I walk? Since I'm doing the walking, I don't notice how I look to others. Maybe I could watch him amble around to get an idea.

That said, how we walk down a street and how we walk through life are very different things. Perhaps I can't help how I walk down a street, but I want to be intentional about how I walk through life.

Through life, I want to walk gently. I want to treat all of life – the earth and its people – with reverence. I want to remove my shoes in the presence of holy ground. As much as possible, I want to walk in peace.

I want to walk lightly, even joyfully, through whatever days I am given. I want to laugh easily. I want to step carefully in and out of people's lives and relationships. I don't want to tread any heavier than necessary.

And throughout life, I think I would like to walk with more humility and less anger, more love and less fear. I want to walk confidently, but without arrogance. I want to walk in deep appreciation. I want to be genuinely thankful for life's extravagant, yet simple, gifts – a star-splattered night sky or a hot drink on an ice-cold day.

If life is a journey, then how I make that journey is important. How I walk through life.

But still I wonder how I look when I walk down a street.

– Steve Goodier

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Anonymous said...

There was an article in New Scientist about how computers can recognize people by their walk faster and more accurately than by faces.
I disagree about treading lightly on holy ground. Most of that needs to be stomped and danced on. If it can't take it, then it wasn't all that holy. When it comes to biology, government or religion, sunshine is the best disinfectant.

Msburgman said...

Hi Steve,

Your article captures exactly the way I want my walk through life to be as well! If you son "walks like you" through life he will do well, since you have to have quite a "walk" for that waitress to notice the resemblance!
I am developing a website and blog called and like to include some of your articles if that is permissible. I have been receiving and reading your newsletter for years and look forward to getting it. Thanks for sharing your life with the world.

Steve Goodier said...


You are certainly welcome to post or reprint any of my articles -- and thanks for including my name and web address.

Magnus Ramage said...

I really like your story. I'm leading worship tomorrow (at a church in Northampton, England where I'm training as a lay preacher) about Jesus as the way, truth & life. I intend to tell your story to the children early in the service, as an illustration of how we walk. Thank you for it.

Steve Goodier said...

I'm glad you can use it, Magnus.

Terry Dougherty said...

My late Mother in Law had macular degeneration, and I was her most recognizable person,because of my walk. Now, after finishing Seminary, I find I have "pastor's walk". I think you are right; how we walk and bear ourselves carries much information we may be unaware we're offering. Let's do it humbly.