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The Beauty of 3 MPH

8 May 2019 - Nashville, Tennessee




My wife, Julia, says that I love numbers - and she’s correct about that! It is one of the many reasons that I love the game of baseball. There are lots of numbers: a 6-4-3 double play, the 3,000-hit club, Ted Williams’ .406 batting average in 1941 and Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. But I just seem to notice numbers, generally. I keep seeing the numbers “1321” on this walk - on bus stop benches and signs and mail boxes and all sorts of places. That was the house number of my parent’s home in Estes Park, Colorado. So, every time I see 1321, it feels like my parents are with me, and I say a prayer of thanks for all they taught me over the years.


I saw this plane (see attached picture) after it took off and flew overhead as I walked into Nashville yesterday. I calculated that, at 3 mph, I was traveling at about 1/167th the average speed of that plane. I would say that for those of us who have flown in a plane, we like the fact that we can get to some far-off place in a short amount of time. Leave Denver and be on a beach in Mexico later that afternoon? That’s pretty neat! I still marvel at things like that whenever I am fortunate enough to fly somewhere.


But there are also some really cool things that happen when walking at 3 mph. Today I was crossing an old bridge over a little creek as I was leaving Nashville, and I looked over the railing. What caught my attention? A good-sized turtle swimming under water, going from rock to rock, finding little things to eat, I imagine. Now there’s something you’ll never see if you are driving across the U.S. or flying from one coast to another. I also had a brief conversation with a man sitting at a bus stop. He asked what I was doing, and where I had started. I told him I had started in Charleston, over 850 miles and more than two months ago (more numbers!). He said, “Where are you headed? Cali?” (California?) “Yes, sir,” I responded. “San Francisco. If all goes well, I should be there in about 6 months.” “Good for you, man. Good for you! God bless you!” “And God bless you,” I replied.


I noticed after that little exchange that I had more of a bounce in my step, even though the temperature was rising quickly and I was sweating like a person from Colorado tends to sweat when they walk through Tennessee.


I am seeing all kinds of signs and wonders and meeting all kinds of people, and staying with so many generous, wonderful people - people I would never have met or stayed with if I weren’t traveling across the USA at 3 mph.


Perhaps you can go for a walk today around your neighborhood, and notice what you see, and speak to someone coming from the opposite direction.


“Consider the lilies of the field,” Jesus said one time.


What might you take in today, as you amble along at 2 or 3 mph?

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