The midday sun bakes my shoulders walking home today from our bird-cage church. I had flown the coop into a dusty blue afternoon. I think we had a short contractor who forgot we lived in a land of the planet’s tallest peoples. The rafters are so low heads can be brushed just walking beneath them. So I issued the weekly admonition yet again. Visitors you are welcome to dance, but please jump between the rafters. And remember the safest place is always on your face. A smile crosses mine as even our rafters call us lower still. I chuckle at heaven’s inside joke.
Meandering up our path I find a daughter picking twigs from the neighbor’s bushes. I stop and hug her silly. Looking into her bright eyes, I say: “Tali ma ana benia tai. Tali, keli anina be rua sowa.” (Come daughter of mine, come let’s go together.)
Her sappy hand fuses with my extended finger. Together we walk. The one-legged mama on crutches and the little daughter named Faith with her shoes on the wrong feet. We walk. Very slowly, very methodically we walk. I am not sure if she is waiting for me, or if I am waiting for her.
Walking together means a different pace. Her little legs cannot make the strides my full-grown ones do. So she becomes my teacher, making me slow down and see.
See the grasshopper sitting on the grass blade, see the geometry in barbed wire fencing, see her dark glistening eyes smile into mine, see her luminous green imitation crocs camping out cramming the opposite toes.
That can’t be comfortable. So I stop, kneel down in the dirt and help her exchange her shoes.
How many times do I try walking in faith with my shoes on the wrong feet? How many times does my Papa stop and help me put them right again?
Some of life’s best walks are the slowest ones.