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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Park (10/25/12)

TITLE: Happy Trails To You
By Dolores Stohler


Thereís something special about a trail, whether itís winding off into a grove of trees, climbing up a mountainside or stretching the length of a public park where people are running or walking their dogs. I find them irresistible. They seem to be calling me to adventure. The attraction will not be at all obvious to other folks walking the trail but it always is to me. Excitement grips me as I walk along, humming a tune in my heart and the longer the trail, the greater the joy of adventure.

Iíve always felt sorry for people who thought they must climb into a car and drive wherever they went. Worse still, they may be smoking cigarettes or chatting to a friend on one of their little cell phones, unaware they may be missing out on something special. You may think me strange but I much prefer to walk to my destination whenever possible, breathing in the fresh air and talking to the Lord as I move along. My thoughts are so much clearer out in the open air and prayers go on much longer because Iím doing something I enjoy rather than striking a pious pose down on my knees and bent into a position that causes my back to ache and my knees to creak as I struggle to rise to my feet. I may be wrong, but Iíve never found a place in the Bible where it says you have to pray on your knees to be heard.

And so I follow the trails, and talk to God and listen to the songs of birds while I allow the joy to swell within me. And it happens to be that while Iím in this walking mode that I get my best ideas for stories and articles. Sometimes a poem will come to me while Iím walking, the words coming so fast they tumble over themselves in their eagerness to get out of hiding. Then I must rush home to find paper and pen before the words stop flowing. Afterwards, I stand there wondering if these are really my words at all. Perhaps the creative words of God Himself are being breathed into the ears of a rapt and willing listener.

I used to be an apartment dweller and, so dwelling, I would look for buildings bordering on or very near a park where I could find walking trails to nurture my creative muse. Once I sat near the edge of a cliff looking down on the city below and prayed aloud, glorifying my creator with praise. Iíve walked the length of sandy beaches, walked narrow trails surrounded by overhanging trees and always with one hope in mind, that Jesus would meet me there and talk to me as He did years ago when He met two travelers on the road to Emmaus. At times Iíve felt His presence even though I didnít see Him.

Years ago, I wrote my first childrenís book which had two boys on a walk with a mission: to save the king from a dungeon where he was being held. When a friend who read my book said to me, ďThis reminds me very much of Pilgrimís ProgressĒ, I bought a copy of that book and began to read. I expected to find it rather dull and old-fashioned but, to my amazement, I found similarities to my walk with the Lord and I liked it so much that I read it again three years later. Now I wish that I had read it prior to writing my book because I would have written a more spiritual version of the story.

Perhaps youíre already reaping the benefits of a spiritual walk in the great outdoors but, if not, I challenge you to give it a try. Leave the cares of the world behind and find a park in your neighborhood. Then experience true freedom as you walk and fellowship with God.

Itís no good taking family or friends along. This is something you must do on your own. And be sure to write and let me know how it went. Iíll be waiting to hear from you.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Karen Pourbabaee 11/02/12
Excitement, adventure, clearer thoughts, longer prayers,best ideas, creative words, swelling joy, His presence....think I'll get my tennis shoes on and get some of that! Loved this smooth, lighthearted journal of sorts...great work.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/08/12
Congratulations for ranking 11th in level four and 16th overall!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/08/12
This is a lovely piece. I felt like you were face to face with me chatting. I never used to be much of an outdoor person but the last few years I've delighted in the natural gifts God has given me. I can totally relate to your MC.