Time – a Gift to come close to God

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche


Back in February I took to walking thanks to my friend Canon Sue Paulton, who had a troop of us walking to Jerusalem. It was challenging walking in winter – especially since this was a particularly cold February – March was not a lot better really. But, it was life giving for me. I needed to get moving – exercise is important for good health and I have been trying hard these past eight months to get healthy again.  Sue’s encouragement to walk a couple FB_IMG_1423713493919and a half kilometers a day from February 5 till Easter Sunday in an effort to figuratively walk from Capernaum to Jerusalem was just what I needed when I needed it. I did not get the nearly 200 km done before Easter. I managed to get over half way, but for a variety of reasons I slowed in Holy Week and it took a few weeks afterwards Easter to get back up to speed.

After reaching my goal, I began hiking in some of the wonderful trails in the Forest City. I must say it has been an enriching experience. I have been walking in Komoka, The Sifton Bog, and Warbler Woods and look forward to trying our other trails over these next few weeks.  I have found my time in the trails to be good not just for my physical health, but good for my mind and soul as well.

 Time on the trail provides great opportunity to think. Time is something that I often waste – as most of us do with frivolous things. The walking has reminded me that I need to take time, not just to look after my physical health but to tend to my spiritual needs as well. Walking is a good contemplative space. It provides much needed solitude.  Thomas Merton asserted that “the greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds,” and that was over 50 years ago! I think the need for that has only intensified.  Today I spent almost five hours in the Komoka woods. It was a wonderful way to clean out the mid of what I am know is a gi-normous amount of mental and emotional trash! Among other things I brought in my bag today, was a book with stories and sayings from the Desert Fathers.  Among the words I read were these:

“What is more precious than anything in the world? Time! And what do we waste uselessly and without being sorry? Time! What do we not value and what do we disregard more than anything? Time! When we waste time, we lose ourselves… Time is given by God to use correctly for the salvation of the soul and the acquisition of the life to come… The Lord will call us to account for having stolen time for our own whims, and for not using it for God and our souls.”

St. Sebastian of Optina

I shall rest tonight feeling that I took the time given me for Sabbath this Monday and have honoured it as a gift. The gift of time offered me allowed me to commune with God in solitude.

 I would be interested in reading your stories of walking. Where are your favourite places to walk? Do you like to walk alone? Do you walk in a group? Tell me about your walking and how you commune with God…..



8 thoughts on “Time – a Gift to come close to God

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  1. One of my favourite walks is from Gibbons Park along the river through Harris Park to the Forks. Then take the left fork and follow the river past Highbury to Meadowlilly where there is over 5 Km of trails through the woods. The other trails I like are behind the Elsie Perrin Williams Estate house, through the Medway Valley Heritage Woods behind Huron College west of the university. The trails go on and on. So many trails in this city, a great way to spend your time.

    1. Thanks for posting Darien.
      That is twice I have been told of the Gibbons Park walk — one yesterday too.
      I must give it a whirl!
      Where does one access the Medway Valley – behind the college….

  2. I too love to walk and have been doing so since my teens. Loved the hills in downtown St. John’s, Gros Morne mtn in Rocky Harbour and many of the park trails. That seemed to be the best way to clear my mind even back then. I have continued to walk and agree that it helps with the rubbish of my mind. I love communing with God and find nature a wonderful place to do so. I have a hard time listening for God and this seems to work best for me. Love your blog, pictures!!! You look great!!!.

    1. Great to hear from you Evelyn!
      Thanks for posting!
      Gros Morne is just sooooo beautiful — as is Downtown St John’s in a different way.
      When I think of long walks – I think of your Dad — all over Tecumseh and east Windsor.
      I would see him walking everywhere

  3. I always walk the golf course when I play. It takes a little discipline to stop every now and then, look around at the beauty of nature that shapes a golf course and reflect on the gift of time that allows me to do this. Then – reality quickly returns with my next golf shot gone astray. Cherish the moments!

    1. Indeed golf is a great way to experience nature — for me, it also gives me a chance to say some prayers — ok well those are not the best prayers I admit — it’s just so darn hard that game! Thanks for posting Jim

  4. Walking in nature is a blessing.
    I have been blessed to have the opportunity to walk the trails in the London area for most of my life.While fly fishing the Thames River in London I am able to also witness the finest that nature has to offer. I am so fortunate to have the Time to do this.

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